Labels

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This acidic paper label has become brittle, discolored and has broken over the years.
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The label on this fossil has become difficult to read.

Labels are nearly as important as the specimen itself. A label tells where the specimen has come from, who collected it, the plant's features and habitat, the date, the scientific and vernacular name of the plant with variations over the years, and other supplementary information. We know today that the paper used in making labels should be acid-free to prevent degradation over the years, but in the past labels were made without this in mind. Many of the labels in herbaria are becoming brittle; their glued backings are crumbling, their text is fading, the paper is becoming discolored and cracking... too many are coming loose from the specimen and becoming lost amongst the shelves. With the loss of these labels often the identity and provenance of a specimen is gone. Without their identifiers, they are simply objects with no names.