Neil - Paul Morris would definitely be the one to talk to on that. As far as I can tell, our specimen records link to the agent table directly. Each agent record has multiple names that we can use to locate the right agent depending on variants. See below for a screenshot example from MCZbase. The "preferred name" is what shows up for specimen records. "Author" names show up with publications.

I wish we had a verbatim agent field, but like Crystal noted, we might have a verbatim label transcription attribute or remark that captures that information elsewhere.
Screenshot (214).png

On Wed, May 6, 2020 at 6:32 PM Neil Stanley Cobb <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

So I would put it into dynamicProperties and ideally it would be in json format – Katja would know.


I assume the MCZ "master" agent record was created by Paul Morris.  It would be interesting to see where that capability is for all cms systems.  I like putting in verbatim agent in a master table better than the dynamicProperties option, but is the master agent table only available in the MCZ database?


From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Zhuang, Mingna
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 3:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: database and collector's names


​Hi Christy, 


We also do things similar to MCZ in terms of attaching collector names that are obvious. For ones that are not obvious, the system we use (Arctos) has "verbatim collector" as an attribute. SCAN harvests our data from Arctos and puts it into "Dynamic properties" when you view the full record details.


Hope that helps,

Vicky (Mingna) Zhuang Ph. D.

UTEP Biodiversity Collections Manager

B209 Biology Building

Biological Sciences

University of Texas El Paso

500 University Ave

El Paso, TX, 79968

Phone: 915-747-5479

Instagram: @utepbc twitter: @utepbc Facebook: UTEP Biodiversity Collections





From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Maier, Crystal <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 4:13 PM
[log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: database and collector's names


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