Collection numbers

James Cordeiro cordeiro at AMNH.ORG
Mon May 24 09:10:54 CDT 1999

I just caught the end of this, but here's my take:

Although including the date first may clear up some ambiguity, it still
leaves many questions.

For example, in our collection, we have specimens dating back to the
mid-1800's, thus the catalog number 990522001 may refer to a specimen
collected in "1999" OR "1899".

Further, a catalog number of 990507001 may refer to a specimen collected
on "May 7, 1899", "July 5, 1899", "May 7, 1999", or "July 5, 1999".

Lastly, a specimen collected in 1887 (no month or day) and designated
87001 but subsequently found (through literature review, retrieval of lost
information, etc.) to have been collected on December 4 of that year would
require a catalog number change.  Such a change may be simple on a
computer database, somewhat cumbersome on collection data labels, but
extremely messy in catalog hard copy (I must assume all computer records
are backed up on some form of hard copy... books, cards, etc.).

Stick with a sequential numerical cataloging system.

Jay Cordeiro
Dept. of Invertebrates
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024 USA

On Sun, 23 May 1999, Barry M. OConnor wrote:

> At 10:42 AM -0500 5/23/1999, Clifford Wetmore wrote:
> >   This is about the worst possible use of collection numbers. Why have to
> >enter 8 digits and create more errors when you only need 4-5. The date is on
> >the label anyway.
> >In our computer databases I can order collections by real collection numbers
> >and check for entry errors and also get the collector's itinerary. This
> >won't work with the date included in the number.
> >
> I use date-based collection numbers, but with the numbers reversed, i.e.
> 990522001.  These can then be sorted in my database by date which also
> gives an itinerary.  I also give the same "date" number for parasite
> collections from hosts from a single field trip.  I also capture both field
> number and museum catalog number for the host and arrange the collection by
> field number before entering my own catalog numbers for the parasite
> collections.  Thus, all parasite collections from a single field trip have
> the same "date" portion of the catalog number, but if that collection data
> is subsorted by host field number, I also get the itinerary.
> Barry M. OConnor                phone: (734) 763-4354
> Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
> University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

More information about the Taxacom mailing list