On average about 200 people visit the collections each year and about 2000 specimens are sent out on loan.
Requests for specimen images are increasing especially since we began the NSF funded type imaging and conservation project in June 2007. These funded projects are leading to our goal of making the repository virtually browsable.
Research visits to the repository are encouraged but must be arranged in advance.
Preparing specimens for shipment requires careful attention to detail. All out-going specimens are imaged prior to departure and scans of the original labels are sent with the specimens. Extreme care is taken with packing to prevent any damage in transit. The loans are sent by reliable, trackable carriers and borrowers are expected to return the specimens via a similar method. A normal loan period is six months.
Sometimes a good image can answer the question and we encourage researchers to ask for images before they decide which specimens to borrow.
Images are particularly useful when the requested loan is from the type and figured collection or is extremely fragile.
Many of our collections already have images available. Future plans include complete imaging of the type and figured collection and any new accessions. The types database (PaleoCentral) is available online and is currently being updated. The high resolution imagery includes multi-focus composites to provide the best possible rendition of the specimen.
High resolution images may be requested via the loan request form. Urgent requests, for specimens that are not yet imaged, will be considered.