private collections

Sat Sep 28 15:26:37 CDT 2002

At 01:03 AM 9/27/02 +0100, Lynn Raw wrote:
>  If you are so against having a separate body to look after the interests of
>private collections and their keepers, perhaps you would prefer to see a
>single organisation to do the same for all collections and all keepers?
>By the way, I don't see the need for the rather derogatory word
>'parataxonomists' for non-institutional taxonomists. To me, there is no
>difference between taxonomists who work on private collections and those
>that work for institutions (except of course in how they get their
>finance!). We are not talking about doctors and paramedics here, we all do
>the same type of work and need to use the same tools and knowledge and have
>to meet the same standards for publication or for qualifications.

I interpreted the term "parataxonomists (amateurs)" to mean, not
taxonomists who don't work for an institution, but rather persons who
probably don't have training in taxonomy but just like to just go out and
botanize for fun, usually consulting real taxonomists for any
identifications or other information they are interested in.


>  ----- Original Message -----
>  From: "Anita F. Cholewa" <chole001 at UMN.EDU>
>  Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2002 2:55 AM
>  Subject: private collections
>  Okay I'm back in the fray ... I am not trying to be elitist and I do
>  recognize that parataxonomists (or amateurs if you prefer) contribute
>  greatly to systematics (I don't believe anyone has a "right" to collect
>  however--different issue).  There are negatives and positives to both
>  private and public collections.  If musuems are not allowing researchers
>  access to specimens then that needs to be corrected since it goes against
>  the mission of a museum. Due to changing priorities institutionalized
>  collections sometimes do fall into disrepair but private collections
>  frequently can't provide the long-term care that public collections can.
>  Maybe some taxa are okay regardless of storage conditions but in botany, at
>least, if specimens are not kept in the proper environment they degrade
>  rapidly -- we have "received" many personal collections from estates that
>  are absolutely worthless because of bugs, too warm of a storage room,
>  exposed to too much sunlight, etc.  If private collections are required to
>  follow some set of rules to ensure the specimens are stored properly,
>  researchers have access to the specimens, and the specimens will be
>  preserved in perpetuity then fine.  But what's the difference then, why not
>  deposit those specimens in an institution where, theoretically, there would
>  be the funds and professionals for "in perpetuity" proper preservation and
>  more widely disseminated information about those specimens?  Perhaps we
>need to seriously lobby for more funding for museums (and I'm using the
>broad definition here to include collections in small insitutions).  Perhaps
>the paraprofessionals need to become more aligned with institutions so there
>will be better connections and flow of information?  But I don't agree that
>we should create a whole new group.
>  Anita
>   ________________________
>  Anita F. Cholewa, Ph.D.
>  Curator of Temperate Plants
>  Bell Museum of Natural History
>  University of Minnesota
>  1445 Gortner Ave
>  St Paul MN (USA)

Stephen D. Manning, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Mathematics and Science Division
Arkansas State University - Beebe
P. O. Box 1000
Beebe, Arkansas 72012-1000
Tel: 501-882-7162

More information about the Taxacom mailing list