If an unequivocal relationship exists between a particular cataloged item and a page in the publication, then it is a Citation. Ideally, a publication refers to items by their catalog numbers and institutions, but data can be entered for items that were cataloged after they were cited, or that were cited by some other identifier such as a field number. 

Parts of a Citation

A citation includes:


Citation.Publication_ID (FK) INTEGER not null

There cannot be a Citation until the Publication has been included in the database. Because full citation includes a page number, the best practice is to enter citations only when the publication is in its final form.

Cataloged Item

Citation.Identification_ID (FK) INTEGER not null

Citations link to, and ideally create, Identifications for cataloged items.

Publication Page Number

Citation.Occurs_Page_Number INTEGER null

The number of the first page on which the specific cataloged item is mentioned. Referrals to the cataloged item on subsequent pages within the same publication are ignored.

Basis of Citation

Citation.Type_Status VARCHAR(20) not null


This describes the context in which the cataloged item was cited. It is possible that one cataloged item was cited in more than one context within a single publication. In this case, use either the first context in which the cataloged item is cited, or the most important context in which the cataloged item is cited. Vocabulary is controlled by a code table.

Cited As

Citation.identification_ID (FK) INTEGER not null

The Identification.Scientific_Name to which the author(s) applied the cataloged item in the publication. Sometimes this must be inferred from the publication because the author has not explicitly identified individual cataloged items. For example, the whole paper is about wolverines, Gulo gulo, and individual cataloged items are only listed by catalog number. In at least one case, an author has treated a whole family, listed the cataloged items examined, but not their identifications to species. In this case, the cited taxonomic identification is the family. It is preferable to create Identifications sensu the publication, even when the publication does not explicitly create names or re-identify cataloged items, as doing so supports more-detailed queries.

Creating Citations

Citations are a linkage between a cataloged item (via Identifications) and a page in a publication. They contain little information, being essentially a connection between existing sets of information. Therefore in order to create citations, three items must already be present in Arctos:

  1. the publication
  2. the cataloged item
  3. the cited scientific name (Often the same as the current identification but not always. Therefore, we record what the publication said.)

Citations can be individually entered by finding the publication from the Search -> Publication/Project tabs, clicking the Citation Button, and using the form (Citation.cfm) to enter the appropriate information. You can select the cited cataloged items by catalog number or an Other Identifier. The form will automatically fill in the catalog number (if an Other_ID was used), and the current taxonomic determination for the cataloged item. You then select the scientific name by which the publication cited the item.

Erroneous Citations

In entering Cited As determinations and comparing them to current determinations, errors within the publication sometimes become evident. For example the cited cataloged item is described as a walrus in the publication, but the published catalog number indicates a mouse… a typographical error that becomes nonsense only when the published catalog number is resolved. We cannot correct the publication, but we should not leave obvious errors unremarked, if for other reason than it leaves the data in Arctos suspect. There is a value of Basis of Citation for this situation: “erroneous citation.” In addition to using “erroneous citation” for the actual citation, it may be possible to correct the error in Arctos with an additional (what was meant) citation, if the author’s true meaning can be obtained or logically inferred.

If you can establish the author’s intention with reasonable certainty, then create an additional citation to the correct catalog record. The actually (and incorrectly) cited record should be designated “erroneous citation,” and Citation Remarks should say something like, “An incorrect transcription of MVZ 123456.” The second citation of the intended record should have the appropriate value for Basis of Citation, and Citation Remarks should say something like, “Incorrectly cited as MVZ 125456.” With this, anyone coming from the publication should be able to find their way to the correct meaning.

Bulk-loading Citations

In publications that cite numerous cataloged items, it is often efficient to bulkload the citations, especially if they are in tabular form within an electronic copy of the document. This can be done by copying and pasting the table from the publication into a spreadsheet. It must then be formatted to exactly match the key fields in Arctos, and exported as a comma-delimited text file. The tool for uploading this file, and a detailed description of the file are found from Bulkload Citations on the Tool tab.

Searching Citations

Searching for cataloged items by the nature of their citation, or for cataloged items that have been cited, can be done from the “Usage” segment of the Arctos search form (SpecimenSearch.cfm).

How To

Instructions for doing specifc tasks related to Citations in Arctos (please note that “under construction” icons on pages indicate that the documentation may be incomplete or out-of-date):

See also, Publications

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