I would like to begin a discussion that (hopefully/probably) will bleed
over to other list serves. So feel free to broaden the discussion.

ISSUE: Most collecting permits require a report, either at the end of each
year or the end of the project, summarizing specimens collected (species
names, numbers, localities, etc.). For arthropods, it often takes several
years before all the specimens are prepared and identified (especially the
by-catch). Ideally, new identifications (and other curation updates) are
included in each year's summary report. It is a lot to keep track of and
most of us probably don't do a great job (with taxa other than our main
target taxon).

SOLUTION: Most large, institutional collections have specimen databases. It
will be decades before all of our legacy specimens are captured in online,
open-access databases. But new material can (and should) be captured before
it even enters the collection. In theory, year-end reports can be produced
by a single click of a mouse. The resulting report will include, updated
identifications, numbers of specimens, georeferenced localities, loans,
etc. I think many of you are already doing this, but with several clicks of
the mouse (ie. query relevant data, download, sort, edit, reformat,
annotate, print, ...). But if each specimen (or collecting event, lot, ...)
is tagged with the permit number, a completely automated annual report
should be simple to achieve.

BUY IN: At the simplest level, we each can have our own Report Generator
script. However, it would be great to get buy in from various agencies
(local, state, federal agencies, conservation trusts, etc.). If we can all
agree on the basic information that needs to be reported and a common
format, then we would not have to write several personalized scripts and/or
do a lot of back-end editing. I can foresee this as a module added to
Specify, Arctos, Symbiota, and others (maybe some already have this
option?). It would also help museum managers to get associated researchers
to better curate their data before depositing specimens (yes, I have
ulterior motives).


Peter T Oboyski, PhD
Collections Manager & Curatorial Supervisor
Essig Museum of Entomology
1170 Valley Life Science Building
University of California, Berkeley

mailing address:
1101 VLSB, #4780
Berkeley, CA 94720

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510.643.0804 (office phone)
510.847.0360 (cell phone)