An accession is a transaction that conveys a specimen, or (commonly) a group of specimens received from one source at one time, to a collection. As an administrative (rather than biological) entity, an accession can be delimited by administrative criteria such as previous title, applicable permits, or association with a particular project. In general, accessioning is the first step of incorporating specimens into a collection and indicates that the museum has accepted custody of (if not title to) the accessioned material. Accessioning generally precedes cataloging. Therefore, it is unnecessary to have specimen data in order to create an accession. Nevertheless, the nature and disposition of the specimen data should be recorded in order to assure that the data can eventually be located for purposes of cataloging.

Accession Fields

Accession Number

Accn . Accn_Number VARCHAR2(60) not null

Accession Number is a text string assigned to identify the accession for a specific collection.


Accn . Accn_Status VARCHAR2(20) not null

Status indicates whether or not the accession is cataloged. “Complete” indicates that the disposition of specimens can be determined from individual specimen records. “In process” indicates that at least some of the material is still being stored and labeled by accession number.

How Obtained

Accn . Accn_Type VARCHAR2(35) not null

This describes the means of acquiring the specimens, such as “field collection,” “gift,” “salvaged,” or “purchased.” Vocabulary is controlled by a code table.

Nature of Material

Trans . Nature_of_Material VARCHAR2(4000) null

Nature of Material describes the contents of the accession, including identifications of specimens, specimen parts, geographic origin of the material, etc.

Received From

Trans_Agent . Agent_ID NUMBER(22) not null

See Transaction Documentation for agent information.

Received Date

Accn . Received_Date VARCHAR2(22) null

Received Date is the day that the accessioned material was received by the museum. This must be a valid date. Default could be the system date when the record was created.

Entry Date

Trans . Trans_Date VARCHAR2(22) null

Entry Date is the day that the accession record was created. This must be a valid date. Default could be the system date when the record was created.


Trans . Trans_Remarks VARCHAR2(4000) null

Place for expanding a description of the conditions of acceptance, or for instructions in processing the material. For example, “Take 50 gram subsamples for fatty-acid analysis.”

Estimated Count

Accn . Estimated_Count NUMBER(22) null

Estimated Count or “Est. Cnt.” is an integer expressing approximately how many specimens can be expected as part of an accession. Accession Containers are Containers which hold unprocessed material, e.g., bags of frozen mice can be made Containers and scanned into freezers. Email is sent on every annual anniversary of Transaction Data for accessions which are not “closed” but contain no specimens.

Public Flag

The “Public?” flag allows accession data to be displayed in a public (open to non-operators) page, currently linked to from Specimen Results. This is useful for displaying accession-level Media, such as UAM Earth Science accession and locality card scans.

Data Entry Considerations

You can catalog records in “your collection” that have been accessioned by another collection. For data entry (through either the data-entry application or the bulkloader) indicate the accession that you wish to use, but put brackets around the part of the accession “number” that indicates the collection. This effectively tells the bulkloader, “ignore the collection (collection_cde + institution_acronym) to which this record is going to be appended, and indicate the accession based on what is in the brackets.” (Though that accession must be present in Arctos.) Examples include:

Example Usage