Museum of Southwestern Biology

Documentation Policy

The objectives of this Policy are to define documentation, establish standards on care and maintenance, and describe permissible forms of use. 

Documentation is defined "as supporting evidence, recorded in a permanent manner using a variety of media (paper, photographic, electronic, etc.), for the identification, condition, history, or scientific value of a specimen, artifact, 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, cataloging, loans, sampling, analysis, treatment, etc.). Documentation is an integral aspect of the use, management, and preservation of a specimen, artifact, or collection" (Cato et al. 1994).

Maintenance of MSB original documentation follows recommendations by professional societies such as the Society of American Archivists (Deiss 1984; Ritzenthaler 1983) and American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (Kushel 1980). 

MSB documents are available for any legitimate (i.e., noncommercial, research) use. All requests to use MSB documents are subject to the approval of divisional curators. Users must follow division specific guidelines on proper use and handling of original documents. Intentional misuse, alteration, removal, or destruction of MSB documents will result in the denial of future access to documents. 

Loans of original documents (field notes, correspondence, accession files, catalogs and NK books) to be sent off site are not granted. However, loans of other forms of supporting documents may be granted. These include radiographs, photographs, photocopies, digital reproductions, and slides. 

Reproduction of MSB documents is not allowed without the expressed consent of the divisional curator. Methods of reproduction can be restricted or denied to prevent damage to original documents. 

Public display or publication of MSB documents (or their copies) must acknowledge the MSB as the source of these documents.

As with MSB specimens, when MSB documents are cited in any published work, a copy of the paper must be provided to the division; electronic versions are acceptable. 

Documents no longer relevant to MSB will be transferred to the University of New Mexico Libraries' archives upon approval by the MSB Director. 

Archives (documents of relevance but no longer actively used) are subject to the same restrictions and guidelines as documents in current use (see Collections Care and Use Policy, Section 3). The physical integrity of archives is maintained according to methods recommended by such professional societies as the Society of American Archivists (Deiss 1984; Peterson and Peterson 1985; Ritzenthaler 1983). 

Magnetically stored data, electronic catalogs, and specimen database files are subject to specific policies and are addressed separately in this policy manual (see Database Policy).