Loan Policy

Contact information:
Inquiries regarding access to the Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory (NPL) or specimens should be directed to the Collections Manager:

Liath Appleton
Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, Building 122
J. J. Pickle Research Campus, R8500
10100 Burnet Road
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas 78758


Access to the Non-vertebrate Paleontology Collections and Lab:

The non-vertebrate paleontology collections and lab at the Jackson School Museum of Earth History (NPL) is a research, teaching, and conservation branch of the Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG). It is not open to the public. Access is by appointment only, or through organized tours offered by the NPL or JSG.
We do welcome researchers, students, and educators, to use our collections.  Arrangements for visits must be made in advance. Students arranging to visit NPL must also submit acknowledgement of the intended visit by their supervisors. Non-academic and commercial use of NPL collections, archives, and other resources requires prior written approval by the NPL Collections Manager or NPL Director, in accordance with more general JSG policies. The JSG shall judge whether a proposed use of its collections is non-commercial or academic.

Specimen loans:

Loan definition: Loans of specimens from the NPL collections are temporary physical transfers of objects to another professional institution, with no transfer of ownership.

Loan requests: Requests for specimen loans are approved by the NPL Collections Manager. Requests for loans, research or teaching, on or off campus, must be made in writing (email is sufficient). Students requesting loans must also submit acknowledgment of the loan request by their supervisors.

Loan approvals: Loans generally are approved only to professional researchers employed by academic and non-profit institutions. Loans approved on behalf of graduate student research will be made out to supervisors rather than to the students directly. Supervisors borrowing material on behalf of students must guarantee the fulfillment of NPL loan policies and conditions as set out below. Loans generally are not made to individuals or for-profit organizations. Requests to cast, prepare, repair, renumber, transfer or otherwise manipulate NPL specimens require prior written approval by the NPL Collections Manager.

Loan duration: Unless otherwise stipulated, loans are authorized for periods of six months. Loan extensions must be requested in writing prior to loan expiration. It is the borrower’s responsibility to return the specimen on time and in good condition. Subsequent loans will not be approved to any borrower in possession of an overdue loan.

Loan transfers: Transfers of loans to third parties are not permitted. Specimens must be returned to NPL before they can be sent to another borrower.

Type and figured specimens: Type specimens, specimens figured in publication, fragile specimens, or sole representatives of a taxon are loaned only at the discretion of the NPL Collections Manager.

Loans for exhibit: If an NPL specimen is to be placed on public display, the borrower must obtain written permission from the NPL and JSG in advance. Specimens placed on display must be protected from physical access by the public. If a specimen is to be physically modified in any way for the display, this must be arranged in advance, in writing, and NPL Manager must be consulted about the proposed modifications. NPL specimens placed on public display must also receive proper acknowledgement.

Loan shipment: Outgoing shipping costs for academic loans are borne by NPL. Loan material being returned to NPL must be packed in a manner comparable to that as received, and it must be adequate to insure the safety of the specimen. We request loans to be returned via a professional carrier (e.g. Federal Express) that provides for minute tracking (either by electronic signature or hand-signed documents at every station) from the moment it leaves the sender until it is received at the other end. In certain cases we may require loans to be hand-carried, by a person approved by the NPL Collections Manager. Borrowers who violate the terms of the loan agreement or who return an object with unacceptable damage or alterations may be restricted from future use of NPL collections.

Loan receipts: Upon receiving a loan, recipients must sign and return to NPL the form acknowledging the arrival and condition of the specimens, and that confirms the accuracy of the specimen manifest. When a loan is returned, its arrival at NPL is acknowledged by a written receipt (usually an email).

Loan service fees: The NPL reserves the right to assess a loan fee in certain circumstances including, but not limited to, occasions where labor-intensive requests for loans unduly burden the normal operation of the NPL.

Handling of loaned specimens: Specimens must be stored at the institution to which they are loaned, in climate controlled, secure rooms. The borrower agrees to conserve and protect the materials entrusted to their care, to pay for the repair of any damages to the specimens while in their care or a result of their handling, packing, and shipping of the specimens. Preparation, repair, and other modifications to the specimens may not be made without prior written approval of the NPL Collections Manager. Please report any specimen damage immediately to discuss the appropriate means of repair.

Destructive analysis: Any intrusive analysis of specimens is not permitted without prior written approval by NPL. We request that copies of analytical data, thin sections or other preparations be returned with the specimen or remnants of that specimen.

Molding, casting, and CT scanning of loaned specimens: Molding, casting, and CT scanning of NPL specimens are prohibited without prior written consent of the NPL Collections Manager. We may already have casts or datasets of the specimen of interest, or prefer to CT scan the specimens ourselves.

Catalog changes for loaned specimens: If one or more specimens from a lot bearing a single catalog number are to be figured, included in a table, or otherwise referred to by number in a publication, and not all specimens from that lot pertain to a single individual, then the published specimens must be renumbered individually. The borrower should send a list of specimens requiring renumbering to the NPL Collections Manager, who will return a list of new numbers. The borrower is asked to notify the NPL Collections Manager of any errors in specimen data or changes in identifications. This may be done by noting them on a copy of the loan form, or listing them on a separate sheet of paper. If done on the copy of the original specimen label or slip packed with the specimen, the change(s) should be signed (legibly) and dated by the person who makes them.

Acknowledgment for use of loaned specimens: NPL must receive appropriate acknowledgement in any publications and presentations based on the use of materials from its collections. Presentations of items from the collections (or reproductions thereof) in exhibit, publication or other venue must bear the following credit line: From the Non-vertebrate Paleontology Collections, Jackson School Museum of Earth History, University of Texas at Austin. The NPL must be given a copy of any publication (in any medium) that makes use of its material (or reproductions thereof).

Reproduction of NPL specimens:

Reproduction (casts, molds, photocopies, photographs, digital images, CT scanning, etc.) of objects loaned by the NPL is subject to the general rules governing reproduction of JSG holdings. In addition, the following clauses apply to NPL specimens:

  1. Written permission from the NPL Collections Manager or NPL Director is required by the borrower to make any reproductions of objects for academic non-commercial purposes.
  2. NPL may ask that negatives or molds made be given to NPL or destroyed if a reproduction is made in limited numbers.
  3. Permission to reproduce photographs, publications, or other material for which the NPL, JSG or University does not hold the copyright will be granted only if the applicant demonstrates that s/he has obtained permission from the copyright holder.
  4. The applicant will defend and hold harmless the JSG and the NPL against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement arising from the use of NPL material.
  5. The NPL must be assured that the proposed use of items from its collections (or reproductions thereof) results in an appropriate presentation of the original item. Superimposition of text, cropping, bleeding, the addition or changing of color, and other alterations are not permitted without specific prior approval of the NPL Collections Manager. Items from the collections (or reproductions thereof) must not be used for any purpose deemed offensive by the NPL, the JSG, or the University of Texas at Austin.
  6. The applicant agrees not to make or allow to be made unauthorized copies of any materials provided by the NPL.
  7. Reproduction of NPL specimens may be subject to fees.

Citation of NPL specimens:

The acronym for NPL fossil specimens is “NPL” followed by the individual collection acronym and number. However, historic acronyms like BEG, UT, TMM, P, R and K may also be used when appropriate. In these cases you may add “NPL” to the beginning of the number, followed by a dash.

Examples: NPL-BEG12345, NPL12345

Use of this procedure keeps a connection to any prior publication references to those specimens.

Collections use by non-academics:

In certain circumstances, the NPL does permit commercial interests to access materials in its collection and archive. A fee will be charged for all such commercial usage. Requests for access must be made in writing (email is sufficient) to the NPL Director:

Lisa Boucher
Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, Building 122
J. J. Pickle Research Campus, R8500
10100 Burnet Road
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas 78758


NPL and JSG will determine which requests represent commercial use of its resources.

Specimen identification:

We offer free consulting and specimen identification on request. Additional identifications are possible at the Paleo Lab at the Texas Memorial Museum. On rare occasions identifications are made on site. We do not provide any valuation of specimens.

Locality evaluation:

In certain circumstances we can make site visits to evaluate the nature of non-vertebrate fossils that are still in the ground. These are at the discretion of the NPL Director and a written requests (email is sufficient) for such site visits should be made to the NPL Director.