[Taxacom] Scientist curators versus collection managers

Adolf Ceska aceska at telus.net
Mon Sep 1 09:24:49 CDT 2008

I used to work as a curator in the herbarium that has made this switch quite
early. I must say that the herbarium is now in a better order than it used
to be. On the other hand, some problems might arise when the curators are
cut off from the collection decisions. 

For instance, when the collection data base was started, the Collection Head
consulted the governmental lawyers instead of the curators, and the
governmental lawyers told him that to include the collector names in the
data base is against the Protection of Privacy Act. With this advice, the
database entry one can access through the "Public User" port looks something
like this:

GEN (Genus) Taraxacum 
SP (Species) officinale 
LU3 (Keywords) N/A 
ORDT (Originating District) N/A 
SEX (Sex of Specimens) N/A 
SPENA (Specimen Nature) sheet, pressed

Do not laugh! This is quite a serious problem if you want to use this
collection database.

When the split between "Research" and "Collections" was instituted, the
director was inspired by the Lee Aiacocca's matrix organization model. In
some case, it can work, but in the terms of the above mentioned data base,
it obviously failed.

Adolf Ceska, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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