releasing rare sp. localities

Melissa C. Winans mcwinans at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Thu Dec 5 10:03:34 CST 1996

As a denizen of Texas myself, I can attest to what David Taylor says; some
counties truly are too big here (and probably in some other western states
as well).  Our solution for times when we don't want to release point data
about sites is to give the name of the 7.5' topo quad.  The area of one quad
is big enough to make the location suitably vague while maintaining
uniformity in the amount of detail provided, regardless of the size of the

Melissa C. Winans, Collection Manager
Vertebrate Paleontology Lab, Univv. Texas - Austin

At 09:30 AM 12/5/96 -0600, David Taylor wrote:
>I would have to disagree.  At least in Texas, some counties are very
>large: as large or larger than the smallest states.  Additionally, these
>counties may cross several vegetational types, or other distinct surface
>or soil features.  Including locality data only to the county may be
>somewhat useful to SOME people, but its like having a computer and only
>using it type letters.  Having discrete point data for each specimen
>allows more advanced data manipulation and analysis such as Geographic
>Information Systems (GIS).  Additionally, if the databases are readily
>searchable by a number of criteria, the search can be made to return
>either server generated maps or discrete 'points' that can be directly
>entered into a GIS. Web based databases of natural history
>collections SHOULD include data to the highest resolution provided by the
>collector and noted on the herbarium label.
>Again, the only exception here is endangered or desirable plants
>-cannabis and orchids for example.  Then, it is a simple matter to either
>manually, or automatically overwrite the field or prevent its being served.
>On Wed, 4 Dec 1996, Dennis Paulson wrote:
>> >When we get our catalogues on-line, we intend to include locality data
only t
>> >county.  This will give enough information to researchers for them to decide
>> >whether they need to know more about a particular record.  They can then
>> >contact us for specifics, as needed, which is still faster/easier for
them th
>> >having to "cold call" for large-scale data requests.
>> >
>> >Robin Panza                     panzar at
>> >Section of Birds, Carnegie MNH
>> This is exactly what we've done, assuming the records are entirely to
>> indicate what is available in our collection, *not* a direct source for use
>> in some way over which we have no control.  We also don't include
>> collectors' names in our on-line database, for obvious reasons.  Oops, I
>> should mention that what we have on line so far is only our bird
>> collection.  You probably don't have to worry much about collectors' names
>> in herbarium databases!
>> Dennis Paulson, Director                           phone 206-756-3798
>> Slater Museum of Natural History                 fax 206-756-3352
>> University of Puget Sound                       e-mail dpaulson at
>> Tacoma, WA 98416
>> web site:
Melissa C. Winans, Collection Manager (mcwinans at
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory      Phone: 512-471-6087
J.J. Pickle Research Campus               Fax: 512-471-5973
University of Texas, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758

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