loan etiquette versus identification requests

christian thompson cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Tue Oct 5 12:12:59 CDT 1999

The posted comments on loan etiquette are interesting, but there is one
aspect that remains unclear from Stuart's original post.  He wrote:

>suggestions please: in late l995 i was asked if i would send some
>specimens overseas for identification. a loan was made up ...

What has been posted about loans is OK, but if one is really speaking about
an identification request other considerations are involved.  While
identification requests may be treated by some organizations as a "loan,"
they are NOT and should not be confused.

A loan is something a person wants to borrow for their research, whereas an
identification request is asking for someone to perform a service for your
research/benefit. Hence, there is a fundamental difference, if it is a loan
you can set the criteria for the transaction, but if you want an
identification then the identifier set the criteria.

F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D. C. 20560
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso at

>>> Stuart Fullerton <stuartf at PEGASUS.CC.UCF.EDU> 09/30 8:21 AM >>>
Gentle folks:

sorry to cross post but would like a cross section of opinions.

suggestions please: in late l995 i was asked if i would send some
specimens overseas for identification. a loan was made up and sent with a
time period of one year. over the passage of time i have asked for updates
and possible return dates.  always a good put off as to reasons why, but
so far nothing has been done. the material has not been returned and
requests that it be return have been ignored.

what, if any, is the suggested etiquette and protocal for dealing with
this kind of a situation?  is there anyway the material can be gotten
back? or does one just kiss it off and  get on with life.  our collection
is small and regional and it would be very nice to have the material back
so that the identifications and related data can be used in our studies.

suggestions and comments would be appreciated - direct so as not to
clutter up the "air".

thanks and cheers!


Stuart M Fullerton ROF, Research Associate in charge of Arthropod
Collections (UCFC), Biology Dept. University of Central Florida, Orlando,
Florida, 32816, USA. stuartf at

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