[Taxacom] Field Biologist Data Gathering Tools
dyanega at ucr.edu
Tue Mar 27 18:16:55 CDT 2007
Bob Mesibov wrote:
>...your specimens and their archive-quality paper labels have a
>good chance of lasting the next 8-10 generations of taxonomists (200-250
>years) with only minimal maintenance. Is there a way to ensure that the "far
>more detailed and far more important" database will last as long?
It's called "necessity" - if EVERY specimen in your collection has
data recorded in a database, you are going to be compelled to
maintain that database in perpetuity. Where there's a will, there's a
>Ours wouldn't be the only museum which was given field
>notebooks accompanying collections, only to find that we needed to spend
>long hours trying to decipher codes, to work out which specimen lot went
>with which collecting event.
Exactly why having a large number of idiosyncratic code systems for
small numbers of specimens within a larger collection gets unwieldy,
quickly. Having a single unified code system for all of one's
specimens is far preferrable.
>Unfortunately, a complete
>collecting-event_to_registration-number mapping isn't possible, because many
>of the specimens haven't been identified and following museum practice,
Every specimen we collect is giving a (UID) database label and
registered in the database simultaneous with the date/locality label
(each unique locality has its own record, as well). Over 95% are
unidentified, and most will remain that way for decades - they are
insects, after all. That doesn't keep them from being databased. If
they are ever identified, the ID is simply added to the database
record; if it's a species-level ID, all that needs to be entered is a
single number (so there are no spelling errors), and the name of the
person who did the ID.
It is quite possible to bring a number of database labels into the
field, and actually attach labels to specimens as they are collected,
and couple this with field data capture.
Doug Yanega /Dept. of Entomology /Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521-0314
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
Skype: Dyanega http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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