Mammals

Documentation Standards for Automatic Data Processing in Mammalogy

VERSION 2.0
1996
ISBN 0-89338-051-2
 

American Society of Mammalogists
Committee on Information Retrieval
To obtain a copy of this publication, please contact Suzanne McLaren.

Click here to return to full index.

 

I. INSTITUTIONAL DATA  

Documentation standards in this section apply to data relevant or pertaining to the institution that maintains the collections contained on the computerized database.

A. INSTITUTIONAL ACRONYM
B. DIVISIONAL ACRONYM
C. COLLECTION CATALOG NUMBER
D. AVAILABILITY STATUS
E. ACCESSION NUMBER
F. SPECIAL NUMBER
G. DONOR
H. DATE CATALOGED
I. PUBLISHED RECORDS
J. TYPE DESCRIPTION  

A. INSTITUTIONAL ACRONYM—Essential (for data transfer). *

DESCRIPTION: This category applies to a unique set of letters that identifies the institution maintaining the mammal collection.

FORMAT: Standardized institutional acronyms were most recently published in “Collections of Recent Mammals in North America” by Yates et al., 1987, Journal of Mammalogy 68(2):Suppl.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.**

OMIT CONDITIONS: This category was first declared mandatory by NIRM. The information should never be omitted when data are transferred between institutions.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
USNM
AMNH
CM
KU
ROM
TTU

COMMENTS: * This is not a field that must be maintained within each individual record. However, for the purpose of data sharing between collections, the capability of adding this category to transmitted data is essential. An awareness of the standard list of acronyms also is important. The list is part of a suite of mammal collections information which is regularly updated by the ASM Committee on Systematic Collections.

** If during the interval between updates, an institution changes its acronym, data senders from that institution should apprise receivers that the transmitted acronym does not conform to the standards as currently published. This is crucial to preventing the gathering of data from two institutions using identical acronyms.

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B. DIVISION ACRONYM—Optional.

DESCRIPTION: The category applies to a unique letter or set of letters that differentiates the mammal collection from other collections maintained by an institution.

FORMAT: Enter the institution’s standardized division acronym (example: M = Mammals, O = Ornithology, VP = Vertebrate Paleontology, V = Vertebrate Collections).

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.

OMIT CONDITIONS: If this category is adopted by the institution it should not be omitted.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
M
V

COMMENTS: Current initiatives for interdisciplinary networking and expanded usage of collection databases for ecological research justifies inclusion of this field for future use. It can be added to transmitted data and need not reside permanently on the database.

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C. COLLECTION CATALOG NUMBER—Essential.

DESCRIPTION: This category applies to a unique sequential number assigned to an individual specimen within the collection.

FORMAT: This category should be numerical and unique within the collection. Punctuation (e.g., commas) should not be recorded in this category. The use of leading zeros is dependent on the capabilities of the institution’s computer facilities.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.

OMIT CONDITIONS: This category was first declared “mandatory” in 1975 and should never be omitted.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
75
2729
523184
000156

COMMENTS: The collection catalogue number is the most logical field to use as a key field for relational databases. This field is extremely important for output where reference to a specific voucher specimen is needed. Although it is preferable to make this a strictly numeric field for some programming options, some collections have confronted old, numerical series problems by adding the letter “A” to some catalogue numbers (e.g., 1001, 1001A). In so doing, they maintain the important requirement of having a unique identifier for each specimen.

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D. AVAILABILITY STATUS—Preferred.

DESCRIPTION: This category is designed to indicate those specimens that are no longer maintained by the institution, specimens that are not accessible for research purposes, or specimens that are stored irregularly.

FORMAT: Entries in this category consist of a standardized two-character alphabetic code or an asterisk (see VALID EXAMPLES).

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: Entries adopted for specific internal use should be so noted at the time of data transmission.

OMIT CONDITIONS: This category is omitted for all specimens that are available and are being maintained in the regular collection. If for any reason the specimen or parts of the specimen are stored irregularly, this category can be used to provide that information.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: The asterisk generally is used to indicate that additional information is available in the category for REMARKS (e.g., SPECIMEN NOT FOUND DURING INVENTORY OF JAN 1970 or SPECIMEN EXCHANGED TO TTU ON 15 SEP 1982).

VALID EXAMPLES:
*— Discarded; completely unavailable
M— Missing parts
HT— Holotype, stored in type cases
FV— Skin stored in fur vault
EX— Exchanged, provide further information in COMMENTS
EB— Specimen on exhibit, location information in COMMENTS
RK— Head with horns or antlers stored on racks with similar specimens, separated from skin or post cranial skeleton
LN— On loan; if database is linked to a loan file, this category could be programmed to receive a code when specimen is loaned; category would be emptied upon return of loan when loan database is updated
ES— Endangered species; may limit loan destinations

COMMENTS: The development of this category is the result of the need to identify missing specimens without eliminating relevant information by simple omission. The convenience of locating irregularly stored specimens and designating inaccessible materials for potential borrowers is an outgrowth of the original purpose of this field. As a result this field has high internal use value and may be extremely variable among institutions. This category always should be printed immediately after the collection catalogue number so that 1) the availability status can be determined in a simple and consistent manner, 2) such determination does not require other fields for external use, and 3) missing specimens can be indicated on all output (particularly output with limited working space that would prevent further explanation).

See APPENDIX C for CHIN variations.

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E. ACCESSION NUMBER—Preferred.

DESCRIPTION: This category applies to a unique number assigned by the institution to the acquisition from which the specimen came. This number provides a cross reference between the specimen(s) and records in the accession file such as permits, field records, contacts, and relevant correspondence. In most cases, the accession record serves as the legal document of acceptance of the specimen/acquisition by the institution.

FORMAT: Entries are recorded in the form used by the institution.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.

OMIT CONDITIONS: If this category is adopted by the institution, it should not be omitted.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
1977-942
33096
M77-27

COMMENTS: 

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F. SPECIAL NUMBER—Optional.

DESCRIPTION: This category applies to a number other than the standard numbers recorded by a collection. Any number that is not a COLLECTION CATALOG NUMBER, ACCESSION NUMBER, PREPARATOR’S NUMBER, COLLECTOR’S NUMBER, or other specifically constructed numerical category used by this institution may be used in this category. Such numbers may include collecting site number, technique number, other collection numbers (e.g., collection catalogue number of specimens received from other institutions as a result of trade, gift, or purchase) or any other number that may be used for identification purposes.

FORMAT: Generally special numbers are entered exactly as they appear on the original data source. In all cases, such numbers should be coded in some manner for identification, differentiation from other number series, and retrieval. If more than one special number is recorded in this category, the number should be separated by a comma and one space.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.

OMIT CONDITIONS: If this category is adopted by the institution, it may be omitted if no appropriate data are available.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
TK 12543
TCWC 14513B
PX 192A5.3
ZM 1977-4-21-3
AZ345, B22534

COMMENTS: If this category is used, the institution should maintain a dictionary of all known codes and their meanings.Such a practice will provide not only an explanation, but will prevent duplication of codes. If an institution desires to have coded information written out completely, such a function may be provided with special programming. Considerations about spacing between acronym and number should be weighed cautiously. Spacing may affect the sorting order of output and assignment of multiple special numbers to a single specimen can quickly exceed field length. Consistency is important.

The field may include numbers applied by a previous institution from whom the specimen or tissue was received on exchange.

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G. DONOR—Optional.

DESCRIPTION: This category applies to the name(s) of the individual(s), project(s), or institution(s) designated on the original data source and/or in the accession papers as responsible for contributing the specimen.

FORMAT: If individuals, the initial(s) of the first name(s) follow the last name. The last name is separated from initials by a comma and one space. Other initials are separated by one space. If there are two donors, separate the names with the word “AND.” If there are more than two donors, include the name of the primary donor and follow with “ET AL. ” Because of potential space problems (e.g., labels, printouts, computer data storage), name modifiers and titles (e.g., MRS, DR, JR, III) are not used unless such items are necessary to avoid confusion among individuals concerned with the collection. Project(s) and institution(s) are designated exactly as they appear on accession documentation or coded as defined in the institutions dictionary.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.

OMIT CONDITIONS: If this category is adopted by the institution, it may be omitted if no applicable data are available.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
ADAMS, J P
MCBRIDE, S P AND DOW, J J
ELLIS, C R ET AL
SAN DIEGO ZOO
MILLER, R G AND MILLER, B S

COMMENTS: See APPENDIX C for CHIN variations.

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H. DATE CATALOGED—Optional.

DESCRIPTION: This category applies to the date that the specimen was cataloged into the institution’s collection.

FORMAT: The date cataloged should be entered as day, month, and year. The day of the month is always a two-character numeric field. A leading zero is used for single digit numbers. The month of the year is always a three-character alphabetic field that is the first three letters of the month. The year is always a four-character numerical field. Day, month, and year are separated by one space.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: Multiple methods of date entry have been undertaken within various institutions. This is one of the simplest fields to standardize at the time of data transmission because most software provides options for variation in entry or output of date data.

OMIT CONDITIONS: If this category is adopted by the institution, it should not be omitted if the date cataloged is known. Retroactive data capture may dictate that “date cataloged” records the date when electronically captured (i.e., the date when added to the computer database, if these data were not previously recorded by the institution).

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
09 MAY 1975
13 JUN 1887
20 APR 2004

COMMENTS: This category will be used almost entirely in-house for tracking work history for annual reports and grant proposals or for tracking staff productivity or bracketing time frames for problem solving.

See APPENDIX C for CHIN variations.

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I. PUBLISHED RECORD—Optional.

DESCRIPTION: This category applies to bibliographic reference(s) to the specimen used in the literature.

FORMAT: The format and types of information used are determined by the institution to fulfill its needs.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.

OMIT CONDITIONS: If the category is adopted by the institution, it may be omitted if no appropriate data are available.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
ROM OCC PAPER 27
HOWELL, A H. PROC BIOL SOC WASHINGTON, 32:109. 20 MAY 1919
GOLDMAN, E A. 1915. PROC BIOL SOC WASHINGTON, 28:133-138. (COLL LIBRARY - VOL 36.)

COMMENTS: This field could be linked to a reference number in a citation database. For optimal use, flexibility of multiple entries for a single specimen is needed. Although retroactive data collection and maintenance of this field can be challenging, these data are particularly useful in demonstrating actual research value of the collection and identifying parts that deserve special consideration as vouchers of previous research.

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J. TYPE DESCRIPTION—Optional.

DESCRIPTION: This category is applied to specific information concerning type specimens.

FORMAT: The format and types of information used are determined by the institution to fulfill its needs.

ACCEPTED VARIATIONS: None.

OMIT CONDITIONS: If the category is adopted by the institution, it may be omitted if no appropriate data are available.

CONTINGENCY REQUIREMENTS: None.

VALID EXAMPLES:
HOLOTYPE
TOPOTYPE
OCHOTONA SCHISTICEPS JEWETTI HOWELL

COMMENTS: The category has been used for indicating type description (e.g., holotype, topotype, lectotype) of individual specimens or listing the complete original nomenclature and author’s name (e.g., Ochotona schisticeps jewetti Howell) for holotypes only. If the latter documentation procedure is used, the author’s name should be separated by two spaces to avoid confusing it with part of the scientific name. Taxonomic information can be useful for documenting original nomenclature, particularly when revision can cause taxonomic changes.

Alternative reference can be made using the AVAILABILITY STATUS.

See APPENDIX C for CHIN variations.

 

I. INSTITUTIONAL DATA 

II. TAXONOMIC DATA 

III. SPECIMEN DATA 

IV. GEOGRAPHIC DATA 

V. OTHER DATA 

VI. APPENDICES 

APPENDIX A. LISTING OF CATEGORIES BY USAGE STATUS
APPENDIX B. LISTING OF STANDARD ABBREVIATIONS
APPENDIX C. NOTATIONS ON THE CHIN SYSTEM
APPENDIX D. SAMPLE DATA RELEASE AGREEMENT

VII. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  

VIII. LITERATURE CITED