Demeter – plant recording software
Demeter is a PC based plant records system developed by Plant Heritage. The development was funded by a grant of £350,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund together with financial and practical support from the Royal Horticultural Society, the National Trust, National Trust for Scotland and English Heritage. The RHS provided a list of over 100,000 plant names from the Plant Finder database.
The funding from the HLF enables us to provide it free of charge to National Plant Collection Holders.
The system is a windows based programme, which is regularly updated to run on the latest operating systems.
Plants are recorded on the system using an Accession Number (a unique reference - the only piece of mandatory information) together with (usually) the plant name, origin and date of acquisition. There’s no need to type in the name of every plant because Demeter comes with over 100,000 names from the RHS Plant Finder database. These are organised in a tree structure, from Family down to form and cultivar. The name which belongs to each Accession can easily be found and selected from the list, without having to type in the whole of the plant name and so speeding up the process and helping to achieve accuracy. A wide range of other information can then be attached to each Accession, such as where it came from, where it is planted, the date it was acquired and then photos, measurements and observations as it grows.
If the Collection Holder has plants with names that are not in the Plant Finder list they can easily be added using a Wizard or imported from sources such as the International Plant Names Index. This means they only need to be typed in once. Existing lists of names or Accessions can be imported using the templates on the Demeter CD.
It is easy to access individual plant records. There is a name search facility and also a Filter so that a number of plants in the same Genus can easily be worked on. Names can be displayed in several ways to suit individual needs.
Getting information out
A set of standard reports is included (using Crystal Reports™). For the production of more comprehensive reports data can be exported in various formats to other systems such as MS Excel™, MS Word™ etc. or plant labelling software.
Demeter does not contain images but images (and documents) held on the hard disk or elsewhere can be linked or referenced to Accessions, Taxa, Garden Locations or Herbarium Specimens. Images can be expanded by right clicking.
Although Demeter itself does not contain a mapping system, it has been tested with a suitable low cost system and has standard interfaces.
The system contains many standard lists of options (usually found by clicking on data fields). Many of these can be edited and added to using the Maintenance area. All date fields have a calendar which is visible when the field is clicked. Dates default to the current date but can easily be changed. The system can be customised in many ways.
How to get help
To help to get going there is a folder called Help Modules on the CD which contains a set of self teaching modules covering the basic functions plus a User Reference Manual. These are also available here together with Frequently Asked Questions. There are extensive Helps in the system itself (accessible from the Help menu or the F1 key).Support is provided by Coordinators and by David Goodchild, who oversaw the development. Aldex Software Ltd., who developed the software, provide backup technical support when required. An email network of users has been set up for mutual support and advice.
Demeter requires a minimum of 500Mb RAM, 250 Mb free space and a Pentium 111 or faster processor. It will work on versions of Windows including ME, Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10. It will also work in networks. It has been installed on Apple computers.
Demeter is free to National Plant Collection Holders
For users who have an early version of Demeter, an upgrade (version 2.0.9.0506) is available with a wide range of new and improved features.
How to obtain your free copy of Demeter and for any further questions you may have
For more information about Demeter, or to obtain a free copy as a National Collection Holder, please contact David Goodchild 01661 823145 who has a licence to distribute the software on behalf of Plant Heritage.
12 Home Farm, Loseley Park, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1HS. Tel: 01483 447540 Fax: 01483 458933
NCCPG is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in Cardiff 2222953. Registered Charity Number 1004009/SC041785