Private collections of museum curators

Lynn Raw lynn.raw at VIRGIN.NET
Wed Oct 2 00:38:45 CDT 2002

"Eric Gouda" <E.J.Gouda at BIO.UU.NL> wrote -

> I think there is no problem in having private collections (when the
> specimen are not protected by law), the only thing is if Types are allowed
> to be in private collections, this is a real problem. Also when specimen
> are mentioned in publications, these "must" (or better) be available to
> scientific society. You have the responsibility to make scientific
> publications checkable. To my idea, that is the difference between a
> scientific publication and a fairy-tale.

Fair enough, but what is the response regarding a private collection that
holds Types that ARE made available to all researchers in contrast to some
institutions that hold Types but do not make these Types freely available to
non-institutionally-affiliated researchers? In this case could we say that
the private collection would be a better repository than the institution?

In a way, types seem to be given more significance than they deserve. They
are useful but not essential to the practice of taxonomy and may not even be
typical of the population from which they were taken. To me, the original
printed description is more important since it is the basis of the
nomenclature. A Type has no significance without the original published
description but the description remains valid even if the Type is lost. I
thought that we were (supposed to be) moving away from the old Typological

Lynn Raw

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