I'll also chime in that MCZbase can point several variants of a name to the "master" agent record. The database shows the preferred agent name when serving out the record, but it'll look for variants in the agent table if you have them entered. So for the hypothetical agent "Andrea Brown Carlton" you might have variants on labels, like:
"A. Carlton"
"A. B. Carlton"
"Andi Carlton"
"Andrea B. Carlton"

If I had those variant names attached to the master "Andrea Brown Carlton" record, it would help me link the names together without needing specialist knowledge. Of course, it takes a bit of specialist knowledge and inference to create those variants and link them together.


On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 6:14 PM Maier, Crystal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi Christy, 

We don't have a "verbatim collector" field in MCZBase. We attach the collector name to the specimen that best fits the specimen label, unless there is some ambiguity.

If the label says "J. Smith" I will attach a person [agent] called "J. Smith", unless there's come context that says otherwise. 
If it just says "Smith" we attach a person [agent] called "Smith",  unless there's come context that says otherwise. 
If it says "M. Thayer" [sorry, Margaret!] we'll attach the person [agent] "Margaret Thayer" since that's a distinct enough name. 

One can add taxonomic or institutional knowledge to help guide, but when in doubt, I would go with a more general person [agent]

This is a case for having either a "verbatim label" field for the specimen, or label images attached to the record that serve as a voucher in cases of interpretation.

Hope that makes sense!


On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 6:06 PM Christy Bills <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Quick question:

When you are databasing specimens, if the label has a collector's initials, or some other shortened version of their name, but you know who it is, do you transcribe into the database who you are 99% sure the collector is or do you faithfully record the label data exactly as is?

We are using Symbiota/SCAN and I don't see a field where it would be appropriate to make a notation that we made that assumption (like "verbatim collector data").

Is this just me?  tbh, I'm finding it difficult to concentrate since this has all gone down!

Happy to get replies just to me so we don't clutter this list.

Thank you!

Christy Bills
Invertebrate Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of Utah
301 Wakara Way
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

pronouns: she/her

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Crystal A. Maier, Ph.D.
Curatorial Associate, Entomology 
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138 U.S.A.


Rachel L. Hawkins

Curatorial Assistant
Entomology Dept. and Pierce Lab
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Harvard University
26 Oxford St.
Cambridge MA 02138