Improving the accessibility of our science data and digital resources

We are undertaking a large programme of work to improve the accessibility of our science data and digital resources, including the development and launch of a new integrated online collections database, bringing together data about our scientific collections in one place for the first time.

Close-up photography of water on leaf

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew builds and maintains a number of data and digital resources. These include our collections databases, where researchers can explore the objects contained within Kew’s large and diverse collections. We also provide a number of databases and tools that provide important information about plants and fungi, including taxonomic, descriptive, genomic and geospatial data, to support critical research by scientists and horticulturalists working around the globe to save, protect and understand the natural world. 

As a public sector body, we recognise our responsibilities under the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018, and as such we have a duty to make our data and digital resources accessible to as many people as possible. We are currently undertaking a large programme of work to improve the accessibility of our science services. Over the coming months we will be auditing and making fixes on the following sites, to ensure that they are accessible and meet WCAG 2.1 AA standard.

By March 2022, we will have conducted accessibility audits on each of these websites, and will have made fixes to bring them in line with the WCAG 2.1 AA standard. We will also publish an Accessibility Statement for our science data and digital resources, which explains clearly where we are compliant, and where we have further work to undertake (with timelines to explain when this will be achieved).

In the meantime if you have any problems accessing any of our services, you can contact info@kew.org and we will provide the data you require in an alternative format.

Disproportionate burden

Where the impact of fully meeting the requirements is too much for an organisation to reasonably cope with, the organisation can argue that meeting the requirements is a ‘disproportionate burden to fix’. We believe that the following science data and digital resources meet this criteria.

Archive catalogue

The online archive catalogue contains collection and item level descriptions relating to the archive holdings of Kew. This includes manuscripts, bibliographic records, digital images of photographs and many other types of material held by us. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as we are already in the process of rebuilding this site, which is due to go live in November 2021.

Basidiomycete checklist

This Basidiomycete checklist database provides information on all species of the fungal phylum Basidiomycota (including mushrooms and toadstools, bracket fungi, puffballs, earthstars and stinkhorns, club and coral fungi, tooth fungi, jelly fungi, rusts and smuts) recorded in the British Isles. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as the site uses old web technology and has a small user base. We are in the process of developing a new website to provide access to fungal names and taxonomy – this will be released in October 2022.

Economic Botany Database

This is the online database for Kew’s Economic Botany Collection (EBC), which is one of the largest collections of specimens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It contains about 90,000 plant raw materials and artefacts representing all aspects of craft and daily life worldwide, including medicines, textiles, basketry, dyes, gums and resins, foods and woods. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as the data held within this database is being migrated into Kew’s new integrated collections data portal at which point this website will be decommissioned. The planned date to complete this is January 2023.

Fungarium Catalogue (Herb IMI)

This website allows users to search the Herb IMI database which contains around 400,000 records, mostly comprising specimens vouchered in the IMI fungarium (dried collection of fungi). We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as the data is being migrated into Kew’s new integrated collections data portal at which point this website will be decommissioned. The planned date to complete this is October 2022.

Fungarium Catalogue (K)

The Fungarium Catalogue (K) at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew contains data on the largest collection of dried fungi in the world. Together with the CABI collection [collection code IMI], it contains about 1.25 million specimens, including the British National Collections (ca. 300,000 specimens), approximately 50,000 types, and other specimens from over 240 countries on all seven continents. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as the data is being migrated into Kew’s new integrated collections data portal at which point this website will be decommissioned. The planned date to complete this is October 2022.

GeoCAT

The Geospatial Conservation Assessment Tool can perform rapid geospatial analysis of species in a simple and powerful way. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as the site uses old web technology and does not have sufficient users to justify redevelopment.  We plan to discontinue this website in March 2022 after incorporating the functionality it contains in other services.

Grassbase

The Grassbase website presents a set of detailed morphological descriptions of all grass species. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as the site uses old web technology and does not have sufficient users to justify redevelopment.  We plan to discontinue this website in March 2022 after incorporating the information it contains in other services.

Herbarium Catalogue

The Herbarium Catalogue provides access to specimen records and images available in Kew’s Herbarium. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as the data is being migrated into Kew’s new integrated collections data portal at which point this website will be decommissioned. The planned date to complete this is October 2022.

Index Fungorum and Species Fungorum

The Index Fungorum and Species Fungorum websites are the result of a project to index all scientific names in the fungus kingom. The sites use old web technology and have a niche audience. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as we are in the process of developing a new platform to provide access to fungal names and taxonomy – this will be released in October 2022.

Library Catalogue

The Library Catalogue provides the online index and search facility to  the Kew library. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as a site rebuild is already underway, with the new site due to go live in January 2022, the site will be audited prior to go-live to ensure compliance with WCAG 2.1 AA.

Millennium Seed Bank Partnerships Data Warehouse

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnerships Data Warehouse provides seed accession data, germination test data, georeferenced data, x-ray images and IUCN threat categories for seeds banked by the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as it is not possible to fix the current site without updating the database software used to manage the data. This upgrade will be completed by November 2023, by which time an updated site will be in place.

Millennium Seed Bank Seed List

The Millennium Seed Bank Seed List shows Millennium Seed Bank Partnership collections held at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank and at Partner Institutes. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as a rebuild is nearly complete and is due to go live before end of 2021.

Seed Information Database

The Seed Information Database is a compilation of seed biological trait data from the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership's own collections and from other published and unpublished sources. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as this site is being retired in March 2022 when the information will be migrated to several of our other databases.

World Checklist of Selected Plant Families

The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families is an international collaborative programme that provides the latest peer reviewed and published opinions on the accepted scientific names and synonyms of selected plant families. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as this site is currently being phased out and will be retired in March 2022.

UK Overseas Territories Online Herbarium

The UK Overseas Territories Online Herbarium provides internet-based access to a virtual herbarium which, in the first instance, comprises digitized geo-referenced herbarium specimens from Kew's collection together with associated data, field images and key botanical literature. We believe the current site is a disproportionate burden to fix as it is not possible to fix the current site without updating the database software used to manage the collection. This upgrade will be completed by November 2023, by which time an updated site will be in place.

 

Content that's not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

State of the World's Plants and Fungi microsite

We believe that the microsite created for the State of the World's Plants and Fungi reports (2016-2018) is exempt from the Public Sector Accessibility regulations as it is a legacy site and has not been updated since 2018. 

Feedback and contact information

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille:

Accessibility statement for kew.org, support.kew.org and other non-science websites

We have prepared a separate accessibility statement for kew.org, support.kew.org and our other non-science websites, which also outlines our plans to improve accessibility for our visitor-facing digital products and services.