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Two exciting new additions to the BFS website are now available as beta* versions. Please check them out and let us know if you spot any errors, have suggestions, etc.

First is our BFS photo database browser, which you can check out at http://www.bfs.claremont.edu/photos/. We have nearly 1,000 photos loaded into our beta* version, and you can select photos by photo type, family, common name, scientific name, or photographer. Once we’ve worked out all the kinks in the database and the user interface, we’ll be loading over 1,000 more photos. We’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, here’s a sample photo to whet your appetite:

Penstemon spectabilis flower with a Hymenoptera visitor

Penstemon spectabilis flower with a Hymenoptera visitor. Photo by Susan Schenk.

The second addition is a beta* version of a Photographic Key to Common Plants of the BFS. You can download the files and find instructions for assembling them into a notebook at http://www.bfs.claremont.edu/biota/plants/plantphotokey.html

BFS Plant Photo Key

BFS Plant Photo Key

The key was prepared by Dr. Susan Schenk, Joint Science Department of the Claremont Colleges. This key is not comprehensive, but is intended to help students with little botany background identify the most commonly encountered plants at the BFS. This is the first public release of the key for testing. If you use it and spot errors or have suggestions, please e-mail sschenk@jsd.claremont.edu.

*What does beta mean?
Before a new software product is released to the public, it goes through several stages of testing. The first two are called “alpha” and “beta” — names that reportedly stem from early tests for IBM computers. The alpha version is debugged and tested in-house. The beta version is released to a group of users, who are asked to provide feedback on usability of the products. So please do let us know what you think!

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