Temporary Solution to Type needs

Gary Noonan carabid at CSD.UWM.EDU
Mon Jul 17 10:25:59 CDT 1995

At 08:52 PM 7/15/95 MDT, MICHAEL A. IVIE wrote:
>Although it will not address the ultimate repatriation issue, I suggest that
>much of the heat is fueled by people not being able to get access to types of
>species that occur in their country/region. ...
>On a back-channel discussion, the idea arose of getting a large trust fund
>to cover courier service, round trip, for specimens (type and other-wise)
>needed in countries with questionable mail service.  What would this community
>think of a multi-national (the more the better) proposal to the World Bank's
>Green Fund to set up such a system?  Then, any institution that signed a
>general agreement on return of types and specimens could request a loan that
>would be delivered by one of the courier services (like DHL), and the return
>cost via the same mechanism would be paid also?
>This fund could go a long way, for very little cost, of meeting the concerns
>of all parties.

        This idea has merit but solves only part of the problem. A curator
at a major museum with very large collections of types recently informed me
that he has absolutely no technical assistance, no assistants at all. He
simply can't keep up with the high volume of requests for loans of types.
His concern isn't the mail. Rather its the inability to himself do the work
that should be spread across several other people--the missing assistants.
We need to address providing the large type repositories with adequate funds
for finding, packing and mailing types and for handling the associated
paperwork and putting returned types back into the collections. An
increasing problem is that grants frequently cut funds for type checking
trips, resulting in even more requests for loans of types mail.
Unfortunately, support for the large museums (and museums in general) is
decreasing in many countries rather than increasing.
         Perhaps part of the problem is that systematists don't speak with
an unified voice. Many of us instead are organized around taxa rather than
around the discipline of systematics.

  * Gary Noonan, Curator of Insects, Milwaukee Public Museum  *
  * 800 W. Wells,  Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 USA             *
  * and Adjunct Associate Professor of Zoology, University of *
  * Wisconsin-Milwaukee carabid at alpha1.csd.uwm.edu            *
  * voice (414) 278-2762  fax (414) 223-1396                  *

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