The Centre for Biodiversity and Natural Products (CBNP) hosts a number of Natural History collections of significance from Papua New Guinea. These collections include a herbarium, entomology, mammalogy/zoology and fish.
Currently each collection operates independently with its own databasing system—mostly as record cards/catalogue or simple digital records using Microsoft Access or MS Excel. The proposed project aims to organise all these collections and employ a standard databasing system, and link it to other natural history collections within the country, for example, the National Herbarium in Lae (LAE), which is the biggest in the Pacific and houses about 300,000 plant specimens, the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby, which houses significant anthropological and archaeological collections, and Government Agencies such as Conservation and Environment Protection Authority and PNG Forest Authority.
Overall, the mobilization of the natural history collections will ensure a bigger, user-friendly database; to incorporate the traditional collection or species record cards system, specimen images and geo-referencing. Thus, the project envisaged a standalone server with good back-up system (internal and external). The data mobilisation will involve training for data entry, data cleaning and data management. Final year students from the University of Papua New Guinea will be engaged as part of their job training and capacity building, to enter data in the respective collections. Staff in each collection will also be trained by data basing experts, e.g., someone who is familiar with data entry, cleaning and management in their work.