Catalog Code Format
Every collection should have both an institutional code and a collection code that allows the world to track a record back to the institution. These codes should be embedded in each record produced by a collection. Although we typically refer to these codes and “catalog numbers” and entered as a DwC field (catalogNumber) many institutions, especially herbaria, refer to these as “barcode identifiers” or simply barcodes. These alphanumeric codes are different than the barcodes that one uses with a barcode scanner, although many barcodes simply code for the barcode identifier (e.g., catalogNumber).
The following formats for catalog numbers were developed for NAU collections. It follows the form ‘Institution Code’, ‘Division’, ‘Collection Letter’, and a seven digit number that is used to identify a single specimen or collection. For images we add three more characters to the specimen code.
An Institution Code is typically four characters, for Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, this code is “NAUF”. If, for example, the Northern Arizona University branch in Yuma, AZ were housing a collection, this code would be “NAUY”
There are currently seven divisions in the Colorado Plateau Biodiversity Center (CPBC), the two largest collections are:
Division II: Botany = NAUF2
Division IV: Arthropods = NAUF4 (i.e., Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity )
These division designations are represented by a number after the institution code of a specimen. For example, an arthropod specimen from Northern Arizona University Flagstaff would be “NAUF4” while a plant from Yuma would be “NAUY1”.
Collection Letters may vary from collection to collection within a division. These simply help separate important distinctions between groups of specimens. The Arthropod Division currently uses A for its general collection specimens. For National Park Service specimens that do not have NPS catalog numbers assigned we will use the format in Figure 1, but we will replace the “A” general collection code with an “N” to designate that the specimen is from a National Park Service unit. Other letters besides A & N have not been assigned.
Examples: NAUF4N0000001 – May mean the first arthropod cataloged for specimens collected from a national park but the collector did not receive NPS catalog numbers.
NAUF4A0000001 – Is the first cataloged arthropod specimen from NAU Flagstaff’s Arthropod general collection.
Using these methods, we can store and quickly 9,999,999 specimens for each letter (ie. NAUF4A) for each division at NAU Flagstaff campus.
Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity has two legacy formats. Catalog numbers that start with “cole” followed by numbers, and catalog numbers that have “WC” referring to Walnut Creek (e.g., NAU WC 514). Specimens with “cole” were general collection Coleoptera specimens cataloged during early 2000’s as part of the BecBase project. We have stopped using those formats as of 2011.
The only other catalog code used in CPMAB is when a specimen is from a national park or monument and the National Park Service has provided us with a set of catalog numbers and accession number(s). These should all have the four-letter acronym assigned to each unit at the beginning of the catalog string.
Specimen Image Formats
Image file names will be an extension of the specimen catalog code. Because of this, if you wish to batch upload images to SCAN, the image filenames must contain the catalog number of the specimen in question. The file name for the image will consist of the catalog number (i.e. institutional UID) followed by an underscore plus a letter or number. For CPMAB images we will use the format NAUF5F0000101_X# (where X= d(dorsal) etc. and #=a number). The only constraint for a suffix extension is the length, the longer the image suffix the more likely it is to break a process like file copying. You can use whatever characters associated with the additional image information but it should follow an underscore as a suffix of the specimen catalog number. The CPMAB will apply the image file name on the image.
Figure 1. Description of the components that comprise the NAU specimen catalog format used by the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity. The official code registered on The Global Registry of Biodiversity Repositories (GRBio) is NAUF (Institutional Code) and CPMAB (Collection Code).