Table of Contents
II. Description of the collection
B. Development and growth
C. Kinds of collections
A. General statement
C. Conditions of acceptance
D. Appraisal for acquisition
E. Approval of acquisitions
F. Thesis and Dissertation Collections
IV. Collection Management
A. General statement
B. Incoming loans
C. Use of the collection
D. Access to the collection
F. Specimens Covered by U.S. and International treaties
G. Information Retrieval
| H. Security
I. Destructive Sampling
A. General statement
B. Exceptions to disposal
C. Disposal of material
VI. Dissolution of the Repository
VII. Revision of the Collection Policy
VIII. Standards of Conduct
A. General statement
B. Personal collecting
Appendix I - Definitions of Collection Management Terms
Appendix II - Mission(s)
Appendix III - Scope of Collections - Acquisition Priorities
Unique segments of the collection
Appendix IV - Forms used in the Repository
Appendix V - Collection Management Procedures and Guidelines
Appendix VI - Iowa Legislative Code
Appendix VII - Professional Standards
Since its inception, the paleontology collection has been housed in the Department of Geology (now Geoscience). Through an 1855 Act, the Iowa Legislature created the first survey of the natural history of Iowa and directed the Governor to create a Cabinet of Natural History at the University to house the rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, etc. that were to be collected. When the new museum building was completed in 1904, the space to be occupied by the geology and botany collections was allocated to the University library instead. Consequently, these two collections have remained independent in their respective departments.
As the governing board for the University, the Board of Regents is ultimately responsible for the protection of the paleontology collection. The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, as administrator for the Department of Geology, is responsible for the Paleontology Repository which is housed in the department. The Curator of Paleontologic Collections is responsible for carrying out the Collection Policy.
A Repository Committee, composed of the DEO, Curator and paleontology faculty, convene periodically for the purposes of (1) serving as a review committee to recommend actions pertaining to collection acquisitions, management, use, and disposal, and (2) assisting in the development and revision of the policies guiding the collection.
Standard definitions for terms used in this policy are included in Appendix I.
I. Mission (up)
The paleontology collection is developed to fulfill the mission and purposes of the Department of Geoscience and parallels the University's mission of teaching, research and public service (Appendix II). The Repository is an international research resource that houses type specimens and makes them accessible to the scientific community as proscribed by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (Recommendation 72D). The Department of Geoscience and the University are committed to maintaining the Repository as a public research facility. The collection is the property of the State of Iowa, held in trust for the public.
II. Description of the collection
A. Scope (up)
The Paleontology collection includes plant, invertebrate and vertebrate specimens worldwide in scope and from all geologic ages, that support research and educational projects of departmental faculty, staff and students. The coverage emphasized Paleozoic and Quaternary specimens from Iowa and the Midwest, and also includes specimens from other geological eras and regions of the world. Appendix III lists the current strengths and collecting priorities of the collection.
Approximately ninety percent of the entire collection is fossil invertebrates. The most significant parts of the invertebrate collection are the Paleozoic ammonoids, echinoderms, conodonts, and fusulinids, and the Neogene scleractinian corals. In 1977, the Report of the Paleontological Society Ad Hoc Committee on North American Resources in Invertebrate paleontology (CONARIP) rated the overall significance and usefulness of the invertebrate collection as ninth in North America. The vertebrate collection includes Pleistocene mammals and Quaternary micromammals of Iowa and the Midwest. The paleobotany collection includes primarily Paleozoic and Quaternary macro and microfossils from Iowa and the Midwest.
B. Development and growth (up)
The collection has grown and continues to grow as a direct result of faculty, staff and student fieldwork and research. Material is also contributed by: Iowa Geological Survey Bureau staff as part of their continuing mission to document Iowa's geologic and paleontologic history; outside researchers, employed by organizations that do not maintain repositories; avocational paleontologists; and petroleum companies as they reduce paleontological research.
C. Kinds of collections (up)
The collection is stored in three sections: systematics, stratigraphic, and type collections. The major portion, the systematics collection, is arranged taxonomically. The stratigraphic collection consists of large suites of faunal assemblages. The type and referred specimens are stored separately and are arranged taxonomically and by publication. The collection contains more than 25,000 type and referred specimens. Of these over 6,000 are primary types.
Specimens housed in the collection can also be defined by their relative significance for research and teaching with less emphasis placed on their exhibition quality, and by the level of supervision required for care and maintenance:
strict supervision-includes specimens of greatest value for research purposes and intended for indefinite retention (permanent collection). They demand the highest level of supervision for use, management and conservation practices and the greatest security. Type specimens are included in this designation.
moderate supervision-includes good quality specimens for use as reference material by the general public, for exhibit, for exchanges or for instructor use in educational programs. They demand supervised handling and careful management practices but restrictions on use are not as strict as with the first category. Non-type, general taxonomic and stratigraphic, collections are included in this designation.
low supervision-these include specimens that require minimal or no supervision for handling. This category includes specimens that have been deemed of no value for research or exhibit and may be used for hands-on teaching purposes. There is very little of this type of material in the collection.
Another method for describing collections is proposed in the Continuum of Curatorial Activity for Invertebrate Paleontology Collections (Appendix V, pt. 2). Following this model approximately 10% (100% of the type and ammonoid collections) reach Grade 5; the Neogene corals reach between Grades 4 and 5; the other major research sections (echinoderms, conodonts, fusulinids, and vertebrates) (approximately 30%) reach between Grades 3 and 4; and the remaining parts of the collection (approximately 55%) extend along the Grades of 2 through 3. Very little, if any, material falls within Grade 1.
A. General statement (up)
The quality of the collection is constantly being improved by identifying and cataloguing back-logged material, and by the addition of new specimens. Until now, older, less valuable specimens were rarely replaced. The net result is that the collection has almost outgrown the repository room. Limitations in physical space and financial resources clearly demonstrate that the collection cannot grow indiscriminately. Therefore, priorities for the acceptance of new material should follow those identified in Appendix III. In addition, the guidelines for disposal (deaccession) of less valuable specimens described below must be adhered to when deasccessioning occurs.
Specimens are added to the collection through field work and research of faculty and students, salvaged material, donations, bequests, transfers from other state and private agencies, exchanges, and rarely, if ever, purchases. The Repository will not accept specimens with restrictions on use that might interfere with its mission and goals. Items offered with restrictions will require special consideration.
The Repository will not knowingly accept or acquire specimens that have been illegally collected or imported into the USA. Every reasonable attempt will be made to ensure that items begin considered for acquisition have been collected or imported legally. The Repository will refuse to accept items that were collected in such a way as to (1) impair their scientific value (e.g., with inadequate stratigraphic and geographic data) or (2) destroy or contribute to the destruction of a site.
Occasionally, a collection of importance or extraordinary size or significance may become available (e.g. an orphaned collection). Acquisition of such a collection must be judged by the same criteria as other acquisitions. If a proffered collection represents a new area of interest for the collection, special care must be taken to weigh carefully the value and costs of integrating the accession into the collection.
B. Evaluation (up)
The evaluation procedure should take into account the following criteria:
Specimens acquired for the collection should be obtained free and clear without restrictions as to use or future disposition. The Repository will not guarantee to a donor that specimens will be retained permanently, placed on display permanently, or remain together as a group in storage. Exceptions may be made for special collections like those obtained from Federal agencies that are not allowed by law to be transfered.
D. Appraisal for acquisition (up)
The donor is responsible for having specimens appraised. The curator will recommend that the donor contact the Internal Revenue Service and seek professional tax or legal counsel. The Repository will maintain appropriate records as required by the IRS.
E. Approval of acquisitions (up)
The acquisition process should follow these general guidelines:
The specimens described and/or figured in theses and dissertations along with accompanying documents (e.g., field, laboratory or preparation notes) must be reposited in the Repository or another institution that houses paleontology collections. In the past, too many students have left the University without adequately curating and preserving their research materials. The Curator will advise students as to the appropriate methods for cataloguing specimens and preparing them for long-term storage. Before the thesis or dissertation is accepted, the Curator must affirm that the specimens are curated.
IV. Collection Management
A. General statement (up)
The goal of collection management is to preserve the value and utility of specimens in the collection so that they may be used to increase knowledge of our natural heritage. The Curator will make every effort to adhere to professional standards and ethics for collections management. In order to meet this goal, it is necessary to:
B. Incoming loans (up)
Loans made to faculty, staff and students from other institutions are handled by the Curator. Once the loan is accepted, the conditions of loan (use, storage, exhibition) set by the lending institutions will be adhered to. Loans may not be transferred to another institution or person without prior written approval from the lending institution. All loan documentation becomes part of the permanent record.
The Repository will not knowingly accept material on loan that was collected or imported illegally, or might place the University in a compromising legal or ethical position. If such material should be discovered, the Curator will refer the problem to the Repository Committee for resolution.
Specimens that are damaged or lost while on loan to the Repository must be documented and the lending institution notified immediately. If the Curator is unable to resolve the issue, it should be referred to the Repository Committee (and if necessary, University counsel).
C. Use of the collection (up)
The Repository Provides access to the collection and associated data by 1) written or verbal requests, 2) lending specimens, and 3) physical access to the specimens. Unconditional access to and use of specimens is not feasible, therefore, the following guidelines for access and use will be followed.
D. Access to the collection (up)
Access to the collection is restricted to the Curator, authorized faculty and students, and visitors with supervision. Authorized faculty and students are those who need to use the collections for teaching and research. Visitors wishing to use the collection must request an appointment in advance and be approved by the Curator. Visitors must be accompanied by the Curator or authorized faculty or student at all times. The following criteria will be used to grant access to the collection:
Non-academic requests (private collectors, hobbyists, clubs, commercial users, artists, etc.) will be reviewed individually. Visits will be granted as the Curator's schedule permits. Such non-academic access (tours behind the scenes) will be closely supervised by the Curator or authorized faculty or student. Research and photographic equipment, and preparation materials will be made available whenever possible.
Access to the archives, current records and collection manual are open to the public through the Iowa Open Records Act with the following restriction. As permitted by this Act, access is restricted to records containing information on site specific location of rare, threatened and endangered species, significant historic, archaeological, and paleontologic sites, and if the disclosure of such information would jeopardize the integrity of continued existence of the resource (Iowa Code).
E. Loans (up)
Request for loans should be made in writing (e-mail or telephone requests may be accepted in some cases) and include the purpose of the loan and a description of material requested. Loans must have a scholarly or educational purpose. Loans are made to institutions and sent to the borrower (a permanent employee of the institution) as the person responsible for the loan. Students may examine specimens; however, the loan is to the student's advisor.
Loans are subject to the following guidelines (exceptions must be requested and granted in writing).
Specimens covered by Federal and international legislation will be loaned only with complete adherence to all appropriate laws and completion of all applicable documents (e.g., CITES). The University of Iowa has a CITES permit through the Museum of Natural History that covers material in the Repository.
G. Information Retrieval (up)
The type collection is now available and, as work continues, the entire general collection will be available electronically. Searches for specific specimen information may be requested through the Curator or by registering as a user when the files become available via the Internet. There is no charge for the information.
General information on holdings is available on-line for the visiting researcher. A computer search will inform the user of the number of drawers and cabinet location for the desired specimens. This information will also be available via the Internet.
H. Security (up)
The Repository is a restricted area. The doors remain locked unless the Curator or authorized faculty or student is present. Physical plant and custodians have access and have been made aware of the Repository's significance and "locked-door" policy. They are instructed not to allow anyone into the Repository. Outside contractors have access only with knowledge and permission of the DEO, office manager and/or Curator.
I. Destructive Sampling (up)
The fossil specimens in the Repository were collected primarily for research and education; a secondary purpose is for exhibition. Many taxonomic groups or features can be studied only after the specimen has been prepared (e.g., thin sectioned, stained, coated, acidized, etc.). Type specimens and pristine display specimens should not be sampled if other suitable material exists. This sampling policy is flexible and sampling will be permitted when the potential for gaining scientific knowledge outweighs the sacrifice of the specimen. Type specimens need definitive, written justification (see Section E, Point 5 above and the paragraph below).
All requests for destructive sampling must be made in advance in writing describing the proposed method of analysis and agreeing to allow the data to become a permanent part of the specimen documentation (i.e., published data are public; unpublished data must be supplied after some agreed upon time period, perhaps 3-5 years).
J. Reproductions (up)
The Repository has never engaged in the practice of commercial sale of specimen reproductions. If such an opportunity should arise, reproduction shall not compromise the University's image nor its ethical responsibility to preserve scientific specimens and to hold these specimens in trust for the public.
Reproduction and use of images from the Calvin Photographic Collection is permitted for educational programs or exhibit. Requests should be made to the Curator in writing stating the intended purpose and agreeing to pay reproduction costs. There is no charge for using the photograph collection. Prints, inter-negatives, and enlargements are paid for by the user. The University requests that the credit line read: Calvin Photographic Collection, Department of Geoscience, University of Iowa.
A. General statement (up)
The deaccession process shall be cautious, deliberate and scrupulous. The term deaccession applies to any specimen or specimen lot brought into the repository for research purposes whether or not it is catalogued (there is not and never has been an accession registry for the paleontological collections). Before specimens can be disposed of, reasonable effort shall be made to ascertain that the Repository has clear title to and is free to dispose of the specimens. If there is any question as to encumbrances on the specimen (s), the Repository will seek advice of legal counsel.
A committee consisting of the Curator, at least one faculty member and one outside specialist will use the following criteria when removing a catalogued specimen or an uncatalogued lot:
B. Exceptions to disposal (up)
Type specimens, extinct biological specimens, endangered/threatened species, voucher specimens, figured or illustrated specimens, or specimens described in any professional or scientific publication may not be deaccessioned. Other unusually valuable specimens may also be so designated.
C. Disposal of material (up)
Specimens or collections having an estimated market or intrinsic value of under $1000 may be disposed of by the Repository Committee. Collections with estimated market or intrinsic value of over $1000 shall be deaccessioned only with the approval of the Dean. The Dean may request outside expert advice in dealing with special cases or cases where the judgment of the Committee may be called into question. Priorities for the method of disposal are:
D. Documentation (up)
All reviews and deaccessioning decisions will be documented according to professional standards. These documents will be made part of the permanent record (see form (in preparation), Appendix IV). Collection records (i.e. the catalogue) will be updated to reflect deaccessioning activities.
VI. Dissolution of the Repository (up)
The State Legislature created the Cabinet of Natural History to house specimens collected as a result of State activities. The Repository as an outgrowth of the Cabinet furthers this purpose. The Department of Geoscience and the Curator strongly endorse this purpose as critical to the University's mission of teaching, research and public service. In the event that the Repository should cease to exist, the University (in consultation with the Board of Regents) shall have the authority to transfer the specimens to another State-supported institution that agrees to maintain and preserve the collection consistent with the Repository Collection Policy, or to make another disposition of the specimens consistent with the purposes of this policy.
VII. Revision of the Collection Policy (up)
Revisions may be made at any time. Acceptance or refusal of the revisions may be made by the Repository Committee. The Collection Policy shall be formally reviewed and updated at least once every five years. It is the responsibility of the Curator to coordinate this review process.
VIII. Standards of Conduct
A. General statement (up)
The operation of the Paleontology Repository shall be consistent with the ethical standards of the museum profession in general and of paleontological disciplines (see Appendix VII).
All personnel shall perform all collections-related activities for the benefit of the public and not toward advancement of personal interests.
Collections activities should be conducted in a manner to prevent unnecessary damage to natural and cultural resources and to fulfill the mission of the University of Iowa.
The reputation and name of the UI should not be exploited either for personal advantage or the advantage of any other person or entity. Information that is acquired through association with the Repository and is not known publicly, must be treated as proprietary. This would include information concerning collecting localities that private owners may not wish to become common knowledge.
Specimens from the collections should not be used in an office, home or for personal purpose.
Personnel may not deal (buying or selling for profit) objects similar or related to the specimens collected by the Repository.
B. Personal collecting (up)
It is acknowledged that the acquisition, ownership and management of a personal collection of specimens can enhance professional knowledge and judgment. However, personal collecting by Repository personnel at a minimum involves the appearance of a conflict of interest, and sometimes an actual conflict of interest with the Repository. These policies apply to specimens that are added to a personal collection and fall within the disciplinary scope of the Repository as described in Appendix III.
Personnel holding personal collections shall not compete with the Repository for specimens.
They shall not use information not publicly known gained as part of their association with the Repository to acquire specimens for their personal collection.
They shall make every effort to learn the legal and ethical guidelines developed by the University as well as by the museum and paleontological societies and apply these guidelines to their personal collections.
They shall not deal (buy or sell for profit) in specimens that fall within the disciplinary scope of the Repository collection as described in Appendix III.
A description of personally-owned collections shall be submitted annually to the DEO and kept as part of the staff member's permanent file. It is incumbent upon Repository personnel to notify the DEO and Dean of any potential conflicts of interest and to provide adequate assurance that no conflict of interest exists in a situation.
C. Appraisals (up)
Appraisals of privately-owned objects commit the University's resources to private, not public, benefit. Therefore, personnel may prepare appraisals for internal use and for other non-profit institutions.
cataloguing-creating of a full record of information about a specimen or specimen lot, cross-referenced to other records and files; includes the process of identifying and documenting these objects in detail.
collection-1) a group of specimens with like characteristics or a common base of association (e.g., geographic, donor, cultural); 2) an organizational unit within a larger institutional structure (e.g., a collection within a university geology department).
collection management-the responsibility and function of an institution that fosters the preservation, accessibility, and utility of their collections and associated data. The management process involves responsibilities for recommending and implementing policy with respect to: specimen acquisition, collection growth, and deaccessioning; planning and establishing collection priorities; obtaining, allocating, and managing resources; and coordinating collection processes with the needs of curation, preservation, and specimen use. These responsibilities may be shared by collection managers, subject specialists, curators, and other institutional administrators.
conservation-the application of science to the examination and treatment of museum objects and to the study of the environments in which they are placed. This involves activities such as preventive conservation, examination, documentation, treatment, research, and education.
deaccession-the formal process used to remove permanently a specimen form the collection, with appropriate transfer of title.
documentation-supporting evidence, recorded in a permanent manner using a variety of media (paper, photographic, etc.), of the identification, condition, history, or scientific value of a specimen or collection. This encompasses information that is inherent to the individual specimen and its associations in its natural environment as well as that which reflects processes and transactions affecting the specimen (e.g., accessioning, cataloguing, loaning, sampling, analysis, treatment, etc.). Documentation is an integral aspect of the use, management, and preservation of a specimen or collection.
repository-a collection administered by a non-profit public or private institution, that adheres to professional standards for collection management and care to ensure that specimens acquired will be professionally maintained and remain accessible for future use.
sampling-selecting a portion as a representative of the whole; in natural science collections, sampling refers more specifically to the process of removing a portion of specimen for analysis. The analysis may be destructive to the sample.
specimen-an organism, part of an organism, or naturally-occurring material that has been collected, that may or may not have undergone some preparation treatment. It may exist in its original state, in an altered form, or some combination of the two. A specimen may be comprised of one piece or many related pieces. It may be composed of one physical or chemical component or represent a composite of materials.
These definitions are adapted from the SPNHC Guidelines for the Care of
Natural History Collections which is reproduced in its entirety in Appendix
Appendix III (up)
Scope of Collections
Cephalopods-The cephalopod collection is the primary research collection with more than 60,000 catalogued specimens. It represents over sixty years of collecting and exchange of Paleozoic ammonoids by A.K. Miller, W.M. Furnish and B.F. Glenister and their associates, resulting in the most comprehensive collection of Paleozoic ammonoids ever assembled. [Priority-worldwide]
Echinoderms-Paleozoic echinoderms represent the second most extensive invertebrate holdings. Older important collections of Iowa echinoderms were made by Calvin, Thomas, Laudon, and Springer. In recent years, extremely valuable echinoderm suites were donated by local collectors. These are the basis for on-going studies. In addition to the studied material, a large collection of unprepared and uncatalogued material collected by Strimple is available. [Priority-especially Iowa and Midwest]
Corals-Neogene scleractinian corals from the Caribbean and Europe; Cretaceous corals of western U.S.; and Recent Caribbean corals comprise an extensive collection amassed in the past twenty years. Large collections of Paleozoic corals were made by Calvin, Belanski and Stainbrook. Only a small fraction are types and the majority remain unstudied. [Priority-Paleozoic, Iowa and Midwest; Neogene-Recent, Caribbean, U.S., Europe]
Conodonts-The conodont collection was started in the 1930ís by Miller and Furnish. Over one million specimens are maintained on faunal slides; approximately 3,500 types are included. The collection emphasizes biostratigraphy and evolution of Devonian, Silurian and Ordovician conodonts, and biostratigraphy of Pennsylvanian conodonts. In 1998 the AMOCO conodont collection was donated to the repository. It consists of slides from more than 1000 wells and outcrops worldwide accompanied by field folders and a database. [Priority-Midwest, U.S., worldwide especially Australia, France]
Fusulinids-In 1973, the M.L Thompson collection of fusulinids was donated to the University by T.L. Thompson. The collection of thin sections numbers over 15,000 glass slides, more than half of which are type and referred specimens, including many primary types. These slides were incorporated with the 800 Thompson types already part of the collection. This fusulinid collection is one of the largest single collections of its kind, and the University of Iowa was designated by the Paleontological Society as one of four approved United States repositories for fusulinid types. In 1991, the Bissell collection of 7,500 glass slides (including several hundred referred specimens) was donated to the collection [Priority-U.S.]
Brachiopods-The brachiopods studied by Wang, Stainbrook, and Belanski are a large portion of the type collection. The non-type brachiopod collection is very large and mostly uncatalogued. Recently studies by Day have begun to use some of the Belanski material and new specimens from Iowa, southwestern U.S., and Canada have been added to the collection. [Priority-Paleozoic, Iowa, Midwest and related North American faunas]
Large Mammals-The Pleistocene mammals of Iowa described by Calvin, Clement and Hay form the base of the vertebrate collection. Recent studies of Iowa sites have retrieved large numbers of specimens and local donors frequently contribute specimens they find in creeks and farm fields. [Priority-Pleistocene, Iowa]
Micromammals-Faunas from over 100 geological and archaeological sites. The collection contains more than 60,000 specimens. [Priority-Quaternary, Iowa and Midwest]
Stratigraphic and taxonomic collections from Iowa formations [Priority]
Unique segments of the collection (up)
Calvin Collection: Iowa fossils, including many invertebrate type specimens
Belanski Collection: Iowa, Devonian and Silurian, including type specimens
Ladd Collection: Ordovician, Maquoketa Formation, including type specimens, especially nautiloids
Thomas Collection: Iowa fossils, including type specimens, particularly sponges
Laudon Collection: Mississippian crinoids; large personal collection of Paleozoic invertebrates donated in 1975
Stainbrook Collection: Devonian brachiopods and corals of Iowa, including many type specimens; large personal collection donated in 1952
Springer Collection: Paleozoic echinoderms
Strimple Collection: Paleozoic echinoderms, including many type specimens and large unprepared collections
Fitzpatrick Collection: Iowa, Paleozoic, type trilobites and crinoids
University expeditions: Holocene and fossil invertebrates collected 1890-1922, Antiqua, Barbados and elsewhere
Levorson, Gerk, Crossman, and Gossman collections: Ordovician echinoderms and trilobites, especially from NE Iowa and southern Minnesota; and Mississippian echinoderms from north central Iowa
Silurian (Llandoverian), Hopkinton Fm, Iowa: invertebrates, especially echinoderms and corals
Orr Collection: Ordovician fauna from Effigy Mounds National Monument
Van Tuyl Collection: Mississippian of SE Iowa
AMOCO Production Co. Collection: Holocene invertebrates of South Florida, Bahama Platform and Caribbean, assembled from 1965-1985
Forms used in the Repository
Appendix V (up)
Collection Management Procedures and Guidelines
Workshop on Guidelines and Standards for Curation and Computerization of Invertebrate Paleontological Collections-See White, R.D. and Warren D. Allmon, eds., 2000. Guidelines for the Management and Curation of Invertebrate Fossil Collections: Including a Data Model and Standards for Computerization, v. 10, 260 pp.
Appendix VI (up)
Iowa Legislative Code
Examination of Public Records
Chapter 22 - open records
(please note that these are links to Iowa General Assembly pages, so no return buttons are provided)
22.2 Right to examine public records--exceptions.
22.3A Access to data processing software.
22.4 Hours when available.
22.5 Enforcement of rights.
22.7 Confidential records.
22.8 Injunction to restrain examination.
22.9 Denial of federal funds--rules.
22.10 Civil enforcement.
22.11 Fair information practices.
22.12 Political subdivisions.
22.13 Settlements--governmental bodies.
22.14 Public funds investment records in custody of third parties.
Appendix VII (up)
This page last updated September 30, 1999 scw