Fw: RE: Catalog vs curate

Darrel E. Snyder desnyder at PICEA.CFNR.COLOSTATE.EDU
Tue Sep 12 21:43:16 CDT 1995

From: "Darrel E. Snyder" <desnyder at picea>
Tue, 12 Sep 1995 21:39:17 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: RE: Catalog vs curate

I've always considered curators as the custodians or caretakers of museums
or collections.  As such, their responsibilities include not only the
proper care or preservation of the items maintained, organized storage of
that material, and systematic cataloguing (documentation) of the museum or
collection contents to facilitate access to the stored material and selected
information about, including at least a description of the item or specimen
(what it is and selected item-specific information) and source (where,
when, by whom).  Curating a collection includes cataloguing its contents
and making that catalog available to potential users of the collection and
data stored with it.  Without access facilitated a collection catalog, the
collection is of very limited value.

Aside from determining or verifying what the item or specimen is, or
arranging for the same by an appropriate authority, I would suggest that
analysis of items or specimens and pertinent data is not necessarily a
curatorial responsibility.  Such collection-related work is the
responsibility of taxonomists, systematists, and other researchers relying
on the curated material.  However, many collection curators or collection
managers also serve a dual role in those related capacities and/or
supervise or work closely with such persons, both in-house employees and
outside users.

Darrel E. Snyder            Telephone:  (970)491-5295
Larval Fish Laboratory      Fax:        (970)491-5091
33J Wagar Building          E-mail: desnyder at picea.cnr.Colostate.edu
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523

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