1. Registration

25% of survey complete.
The Documentation Committee of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) requests your participation in a survey involving best practice topics pertinent to natural history museums.

We are seeking responses from individuals with registration and collections management responsibilities for natural history collections (including archaeology and ethnology). If your duties do not include registration or collections management of natural history collections, please feel free to pass this on to a more appropriate individual, or to interested colleagues elsewhere. At present we are focusing primarily on the U.S. and Canada, but we hope to expand the scope of the site and welcome international responses.

This survey seeks to better understand the information and resource needs of the natural history collections community, including museums, parks, university collections, and other organizations caring for natural and cultural history collections. The purpose is to identify, collect, and provide information about best practices specific to natural history collections, including current helpful resources. Holes or gaps in best practices need to be identified and addressed. This survey is the first step in identifying these holes. Please note that we are primarily seeking to identify collections management challenges; we recognize that how things are currently done is not always "best practices."

The results of this survey will be used to guide the creation of an in-depth resource website on natural history collections best practices, to be hosted by the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) at http://www.spnhc.org. The results will also be published in the SPNHC Journal, "Collection Forum." All answers will remain confidential and no results will be publicly associated with an institution or individual unless specific permission is granted.

We appreciate you filling out this survey. It consists of 31 questions and should take about 10 minutes to fill out. There are no required answers. These responses will help determine which topics are of most concern to the natural history community, which will be addressed first on the website.

All answers will remain confidential and no results will be publicly associated with an institution unless specific permission is granted.

Thank you for your help!

The survey was generated as part of an internship from the RCN (Research Coordination Network) for Building a National Community of Natural History Collections (http://www.collectionsweb.org/), sponsored by SPNHC, and hosted by the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (SNOMNH).

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* 1. Which staff members, volunteers, and/or students, are responsible for processing and accessioning acquisitions of incoming material? (Select all that apply)

If a person has multiple titles/responsibilities, please specify in the box indicated "Other".

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* 2. Briefly, please describe your acquisition process.

Example: Our museum starts off by listing all objects, dates, collectors, permits, etc. onto a worksheet. This worksheet is processed by our Registrar who ensures that all proper documentation is complete. Once completed, a single accession number is assigned to all material associated with that collecting event. Material in the collection is then cataloged.

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* 3. What are your most common registration challenges?

Note: The Native American Graves Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and the National Museum of the American Indian Act (NMAIA) are U.S. Federal legislation regarding repatriation of certain types of collections to Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian tribes and organizations.

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* 4. Has your institution ever repatriated objects or remains under any of the following?

Repatriation laws currently apply to cultural objects and human remains, but voluntary repatriation might apply to a broader range of museum objects, for example: endangered species from other countries, fossils collected from tribal lands, etc.

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* 5. What is your policy on voluntary repatriation--not required by law--of cultural artifacts, human remains, fossils, or biological specimens?

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* 6. Would you be willing to share a case study about repatriating objects NOT subject to NAGPRA/NMAIA?

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* 7. Under a repository agreement, do you care for any of the following?

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* 8. If you care for Federal, State, or Tribal collections (or equivalent) under a repository agreements, have you encountered any challenges related to this? Please describe them briefly.

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* 9. Would you be willing and able to share an experience with a repository arrangement as a case study?