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Presentation at the 2017 BCGI congress

Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genve


Information systems at the Conservatory and Botanical Garden of the City of Geneva

Just 20 years ago, a collaborator of the CJB published her thesis work "A botanical information system: Contribution to the opening-up of information"* 1. Since the publication of this totally innovative study for the botany (use of the concept of relational databases in order to integrate different research projects and collections management within the same system, in order to share concepts, data, methods and applications), the CJB have constantly invested in the development of what we now call the Geneva Botanical Information System (SIBG).

*1 ZELLWEGER, C. (1994). Un système d’information botanique : contribution au désenclavement de l’information. Thèse n° 400 de la Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales de l’Université de Genève. 190 pp.

Today the SIBG allows:

• The management of herbaria (field data, herbarium sample, collectors, loans, etc.); • The management of living collections (accessions, specimens in cultures, index seminum, seed bank, etc.); • The management of information related to scientific projects such as checklists, floras, taxonomic treatments (nomenclature, synonymy, localities, etc.).

Informations provided by the vast majority of the databases proposed online by the CJB ( is extracted from the SIBG.

Botalista: a management tool intended to be made available to all

Since SIBG is based on so-called "proprietary" technologies, the CJB have decided to develop a new management tool, called Botalista, that relies exclusively on free software: PostgreSQL, Java and AngularJS.

Once operational, Botalista will be offered to botanical institutes as an “open source” resource.

Botalista will be offered in the form of interdependent MODULES i(nomenclature management, field data management, herbarium sample management, accessions management, etc.), which will enable interested institutes to install the different modules according to their needs:

Botalista will be presented to the botanical gardens community in 2017, at the International Botanical Garden Congress organized as part of the CJB bicentenary festivities.

Botalista: a collaborative project

A study, carried out as part of the project to replace the living collection management tool of the Paris Botanical Garden, revealed that the various existing commercial solutions were inadequate and that the SIBG could largely cover their functional requirements. This led to the idea of a partnership agreement between the City of Paris and the City of Geneva to mutualise a botanical information system.

This agreement was concluded in order to enable the City of Paris to quickly dispose of the SIBG without having to carry out a specific and costly development (since August 2014 the employees of the Botanical Garden of the City of Paris are working with the SIBG) and, on the other hand, to mutualise resources between the two cities to realize functional evolutions and porting the tool in the world of free softwares in order to benefit all the gardens and institutes of botany.

Today, the Cities of Geneva and Paris carry this ambitious project, but already the Botanical Gardens of Bern and Bordeaux wish to participate actively in this "adventure", by providing financial support and their own expertise, expressing their specific needs, thus participating directly in the improvement of the existing modules and the development of new functionalities

Our partners

The Botanical Garden of the City of Paris, consisting of 4 gardens:

Arboretum de l’école du Breuil (bois de Vincennes)
Parc floral de Paris (bois de Vincennes)
Parc de Bagatelle (bois de Boulogne)
Jardin des serres d’Auteuil (bois de Boulogne)

The Botanical Garden of the City of Bordeaux

The Botanical Garden of the City of Bern