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The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is an international research centre into biodiversity in several fields. Kew’s Herbarium houses seven million plant specimens from historic collections as well as new acquisitions, effectively making it a ‘library’ of global plant diversity. We work with Kew to understand the changing and ongoing role of this enormous archive in plant research, into identification and categorising of plant species, and into future uses of plant specimens. The range of different institutional archiving and conservation practices at Kew-including work in the Herbarium, Fungarium, Economic Botany Collection, DNA Bank, Millennium Seed Bank and the Botanical Gardens themselves-makes this a rich environment in which to explore different disciplinary practices of collecting, cataloguing and conserving different forms of natural and cultural heritage.