How to Create and Update Accessions

(Based on a guide initally developed by April Payne, Northern Michigan University)

An accession provides a way to organize specimens into related sets. Accessions can be created for any convenient purpose, but the most common use is to make one accession that encompasses the specimens collected through a specific project or source (e.g., a single collecting expedition, all salvaged specimens acquired during a given year, specimens received from an agency, all specimens associated with a single PhD project). This allows sets of specimens to be tracked easily (e.g., for reporting). NOTE: Some institutions use Accession Number in place of Catalog Number for a specific cataloged item. In Arctos, these numbers are not the same. There may be multiple cataloged items in a single accession.

From the Arctos drop-down menus select Manage Data > Transaction > Create Accession

Create Accession is a page where you can enter information required to create a new accession.

Fields within the Create Accession


Accn Number


Received Date

Nature of Material

Received From

From Agency

How Obtained?

Est. Cnt.


Entry Date

Has Correspondence?


Completing your accession

Once you are satisfied with all the information you have entered about your new accession, click “Save this Accession” in the pink box at the bottom of the page.

After saving, the page will refresh and show you an updated layout for your accession documentation. At this time you can associate permits or projects with the accession or link barcoded containers to the accession.

Be sure to click “save changes” at the bottom of the page before leaving the page.

How to Batch Update Accessions

Batch update Accessions using the Manage Menu to transfer specimen records from one accession into another. The Manage Menu is an efficient alternative to using the “Accn Tab” found in individual specimen records when needing to update multiple records at once.

Note: Specimen records can only be added into an existing accession. Moving records into an accession and others out of the same accession is therefore a two-step process (e.g., first transfer any “unwanted” records out of the accession into a different accession before transferring any additional records in).

Navigation: from the Search Results screen → “Manage…” Menu → Accession

Query the records to be edited. ALL records that appear in the search results list will be batch-updated. Be sure to double-check the results and isolate only the records you wish to update, narrowing your search parameters if need be.

Manage Accessions

As noted on the page, “Add all the items listed below to accession”: