This is a draft document; recommendations have not been finalized.

How to cite specimens

For Users

AWG: What should we put in that field?

For Curators

Unfortunately, there are no clear universal guidelines for citing specimens, and there are potential complications for all specimen identifiers. When providing guidance for citing multiple specimens, the following should be considered in addition to the nature of the material (or data) being used, the nature of the work being done, and anything else which might effect how data and specimens (or samples) are ultimately accessed, both digitally and physically. The Arctos Working Group is available discuss specifics.


When choosing an identifier, the following should be considered:


These are presented roughly in order of preference.

Full specimen GUID (

DOI (for specimen GUID -

Locked Archives (

DOI (for locked archives -

Unlocked Archives (

“DWC Triplet” (UAM:Mamm:12)

Saved Searches (

Projects (

Random “local” identifiers (“12”)

These include AF, NK, ALAAC, collector numbers, bare catalog numbers, or catalog number with nonstandard prefix (“Alaska 12”)