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The Angiosperm Phylogeny Website - a tool for reference and teaching in a time of change

Peter F. Stevens and Hilary M. Davis

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


Repositories of biological information should include up-to-date, cumulative research as well as issues affecting the scholarly community at-large. Because of the dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of research in today's biological "infosphere," it is becoming increasingly difficult to produce stable and useful monographic treatments with the timeliness and impact that biodiversity issues deserve.

The Angiosperm Phylogeny Website ("APweb") has had far-reaching impact in the botanical community. It is innovative in its field in that the content is dynamic, reflecting current research in evolutionary relationships of flowering plants. APweb is freely available to anyone anywhere. It is aimed at an audience that knows some botany - teachers, students and researchers - and has been very widely used as a teaching and reference tool.

The APweb presents botanical information for over 400 plant families, including

representative photographs for each family, an explanation of characteristics discussed, diagrams of accepted evolutionary relationships of families within orders, listing of common names with links, complete lists of synonyms for names that are in constant flux, full list of references, full glossary of botanical terms with a hierarchical framework as well as plant chemical compounds with corresponding structures and definitions.

The project represents a culmination of information developed by botanical researchers, presented in a user-friendly, hierarchical and intuitive format meant for all levels of interest in the botanical sciences. This poster will discuss the development, use and future plans of the APweb in its role as a teaching and reference tool. Of particular relevance to library and information practitioners, the APweb may serve as an example of how a simple design can be used to present a wealth of information for plant bioinformatics and education.

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