Identifying National Park Specimens

Many collections have been tasked with identifying specimens from US National Parks and various other Department of the Interior (DoI) agencies. There are several possible ways of doing this.

Permits

DOI has required permits for all collecting activities on DOI land since 1906, and claims to have a mechanism of linking permits to the data in which they’re interested. ‘Query-ability’ will depend on the permit data recorded; a permit issued by agent “Denali National Park” will be capable of answering finer-grained questions than one issued by “US NPS,” for example. Permits can and should be used in conjunction with all other methods of identifying DOI specimens.

Projects

Projects provide a mechanism for querying much the same data as Permits, but also allow more metadata (such as associated NPS funding) and provide results in a more integrated and accessible format.

Generic Identifiers

Assigning specimens identifiers such as “U. S. National Park Service catalog” provides coarse-grained origin information, and may be somewhat useful for DOI personnel in comparing museum specimen data with records in their local databases.

Specific Identifiers

Assigning specific issued identifiers (“LVNP: Lassen Volcanic National Park”) provides fine-grained origin information and easy access. These may be typed (usually as integer) by coordinating with Arctos staff.

Geography

Geography is problematic as DOI land changes over time. A specimen may have been collected on what is now National Park land before the Park was formed or expanded, and as such would NOT be the property of NPS, for example.

More Information