Collecting Event

A collecting event is a place and time (both of any precision) where collecting occurred. A collecting event often applies to more than one catalogued specimen, so be careful that changes you make to a collecting event apply to all of the specimens. New Collecting Events are normally created when specimen records are bulk-loaded, but may be created manually, cloned from existing events, and/or given a nickname for easy identification.

Event Nickname

Collecting_Event . Collecting_Event_Name VARCHAR(255) null

Event Nickname is a human-readable stable “primary key” to collecting events. Event Nickname may only be created or added in the edit forms; it may not be created during the data entry process. This field is useful for locating pre-created collecting event information, and may be useful when specimens share an event but are not entered sequentially, such as hosts and parasites.

Verbatim Locality

Collecting_Event . Verbatim_Locality VARCHAR(255) null

Verbatim Locality is the locality description as provided by the collector and is specific to the Collecting Event, not to the Locality.  The same Locality may have been described differently at different times, and this distinction allows us to incorporate assumptions about the locality into Specific Locality while maintaining the original verbage in Verbatim Locality. Verbatim Locality may include any locality descriptors as written verbatim in field notes or on a specimen tag – whatever the collector wrote, warts and all. If the locality is outside of the U.S., include the higher geography as given verbatim by the collector. Verbatim Locality is not often displayed.


The date of the Collecting Event is expressed in three fields: Verbatim_Date, Began_Date, and Ended_Date. The purpose of these three fields is to encompass the uncertainty and imprecision inherent in collecting dates as they are often recorded by collectors, and to properly record the duration of Collecting Events that may have been longer or shorter than a single day.

Verbatim Date

Collecting_Event . Verbatim_Date VARCHAR(60) not null

Verbatim Date is a transcription of the date provided by the collector. If the collection date is given as “unknown,” then a value such as “before 14 Jan 2005” should be entered. (The time is never completely unknown: We always know that a specimen in hand was collected before the present.)

Began Date & Ended Date

Collecting_Event . Began_Date ISO8601, not null

Collecting_Event . Ended_Date ISO8601, not null

Began and End Dates delimit the range of dates encompassed by the Verbatim Date. Unlike Verbatim Date, they are ISO8601 date values, not an indeterminate character string. If the Verbatim Date is a valid date, then both the Began Date and the End Date should be the same as the Verbatim Date. If the Verbatim Date is unknown or vague, put the latest possible date in the End Date field (e.g., the date the specimen was received or accessioned), and the earliest date on which the specimen could have been collected in Began Date. Often this can be assumed on basis of known history, such as the life span of the collector, etc.

The following examples are instructive:

Verbatim Date Began Date End Date Comment
October 14, 1959 1959-10-14 1959-10-14  
1907 1907-01-01 1907-12-31 Bracket timespans to some reasonable precision. This is equivalent to the next example.
1907 1907 1907 It is sometimes possible to pick a began and ended date of the same precision as the given timespan. This is equivalent to the previous example.
Feb 2000 2000-02-01 2000-02-29 This is equivalent to the next example.
Feb 2000 2000-02 2000-02 This is equivalent to the previous example.
early March 1999 1999-03-01 1999-03-15  
mid-April 1956 1956-04-11 1956-04-20  
late-May 1942 1942-05-15 1942-05-31  
spring 1906 1906-03-21 1906-06-20 Assumes temperate northern hemisphere.
summer 1910 1910-06-21 1910-09-20 Assumes temperate northern hemisphere.
fall 1937 1937-09-21 1937-12-20 Assumes temperate northern hemisphere.
winter 00/01 1900-12-21 1901-03-20 Assumes temperate northern hemisphere and beginning of 20th Century.
before 2003 1900-01-01 2002-12-31 Assumes 20th Century or more recent.
between 0100 and 0330 GMT October 30 2012 2012-10-30T01:00:00Z 2012-10-30T03:30:00Z Always include timezone information when it is available.

Verbatim Coordinates

Collecting_Event . Verbatim_Coordinates VARCHAR(255), null

Verbatim coordinates are stored with collecting event in their original format with the information supplied by the collector. These are not mapped (although locality coordinates are automatically generated from them via the bulkloader) and generally should not be changed (except, eg, transcription errors).


Collecting_Event . Coll_Event_Remarks VARCHAR(4000), null

Use Remarks to document non-standard information pertaining to the fields in collecting event. Do not use remarks for any information which could be recorded with more structure elsewhere.

“Collected on or after” and “Collected on or before” offer two distinct search possibilities:

will search for specimens which meet ALL of the listed requirements: Specimens from August 31 will not be included (31 is not between 1 and 30), and specimens from January will not be included (1 is not between 6 and 7).