1.1. Directory to support the collections community (USE)

There’s also the challenge (quite familiar in the collections setting) of hierarchical relationships among organizations listed in any system like ROR or GRID.

This seems like an area where ROR is still a bit underdeveloped. @trobertson asked about the Zoological Museum; @waddink replied with the Natural History Museum: https://ror.org/040ck2b86

That’s actually the parent of ZM, one of three institutions (along with the Botanic Garden and Geological Museum). None of those three are in ROR, and the ROR record doesn’t appear to note that NHM and its constituent elements fall under the University of Copenhagen, even though GRID does: https://grid.ac/institutes/grid.507616.3

This is a simple example that ramps up significantly with, say, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Compare its entries on ROR and GRID.

Not judging, just observing.

Hi Kyle, that is correct. We asked ROR about that a few weeks ago and they replied: ROR will include the relationships data (both parent institutes and related institutes) from GRID. The implementation work to incorporate this metadata is still in progress. See also https://github.com/ror-community/ror-api/issues/59

Would the collections community benefit from a comprehensive directory of all natural history collections?

For taxonomists, the answer to this is Yes. Taxonomists spend a lot of time researching names, creating synonymies and assembling classifications and phylogenies. I see collections in a similar light. Some collections (like some scientific names) are relatively stable over time. Other collections are renamed (creating synonyms), internally restructured, transferred whole or in part to other institutions (“new parent(s)”) or abandoned. A comprehensive directory would provide an important bench mark. And linking active collections to historical ones increases discoverability for specimens cited in the literature.

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In a separate post on community catalogues I provide several reasons, but not exhaustive, why a comprehensive directory would greatly aid in developing a World Index of Arthropod collections 3.2. Community catalogues (TECHNOLOGY)

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From @maperalta, in the Spanish thread:
Yes, we would benefit from it [comprehensive directory of all natural history collections], mostly given the limitations that exist around impediments moving material abroad. Having a directory would facilitate direct contact with institutions and future, potential exchange of material to improve representation of our collections. Researchers who are users of natural history collections would be the most benefited, as they would have a catalogue of collections which they can contact (through email with active staff, phone or website), with basic data about their thematic or taxonomic coverage.

From @ ErikaSalazar in this Spanish thread

With the creation of a directory of biological collections, not only those collections are benefited, but also the scientific community as a whole, the environmental authorities and educational institutions.

From @WUlate in this Spanish thread

Would the collections community benefit from a comprehensive directory of all natural history collections? Who would make use of such a directory?

Yes, if it was kept up to date (which is a laborious activity for those responsible for the Catalogue). Searching in a catalogue is difficult if the information about the collection or institution is incomplete. This would be worse if we don’t have a “unique global acronym”, or at least a single record by institution that groups all different acronyms.

[related to 2.2. Identifiers for collections (INFORMATION), and 1.8. Improvements to citation and visibility for collections (USE)]