Ethnobotanical Image Archive

Since 1975, Kathleen Harrison has been formally studying plants and people, mostly native ones. In her travels over those years, she has taken thousands of 35mm slides of ethnobotanical subjects, and nearly as many digital photos in recent years. She has many thousands of words to caption them, give background, name the species photographed, recognize ritual forms and practices, and nearly endless elaborations on these images that represent her life’s work. In 2002, through a designated grant to Botanical Dimsions, the Ethnobotanical Image Archive Project was initiated. A portion of the slide collection was digitally scanned and placed into a Filemaker Pro database. Keywords, verbal documentation, and categories accompany the images. Kat’s many lectures that have been recorded are currently being transcribed into print. The images, descriptions and audio and video talks are being shaped into a an archive that will achieve these goals:

  • Preserve 35 years of fieldwork photography
  • Collate the verbal information with the imagery, in its most useful format for searching, education, expansion
  • Create a multi-purpose database for ethnobotany education and preservation of data
  • Create digital versions of select topics within this archive, for distribution, education, fundraising, and posterity
  • Create a framework for the ethnobotany-related photography of others in the field. Botanical Dimensions has given some small travel grants to students of ethnobotany, and in return, they have offered some fine work that can be added to the archive, to illustrate ethnobotanical practices in countries worldwide.
  • Eventually make this teaching archive available on DVDs or via a website, for other educators to use, or to sell as a means to fundraise for Botanical Dimensions.