9407568 Westneat The collection of fishers at the Field Museum of Natural History contains more than 1.7 million specimens in about 125,000 lots representing more than 9,000 species and 320 families. The Collection and its supporting facilities are recognized as an International Center of Ichthyology. The fish collection serves as a major depository for historically important collections, including type specimens for more than 1,420 nominal species, the collection is world-wide in scope and in recent years has been enriched by the addition of major collections from South America, the Western Atlantic Ocean, and the Western Pacific Ocean. Many of these collections come from previously unsampled localities and may never be duplicated. The holding of the collection are extensively used both nationally and internationally. They constitute an important source of primary research materials for professional scientists and students engaged in the studies of systematics, biodiversity, morphology, molecular genetics, and conservation biology. The accessibility and exchange of information regarding the holdings of natural history collections are critical to both basic and applied research. Therefore, the institution is engaged in a long-range plan to create and manage an accurate computerized database containing the records of all fish specimens housed in the FMNH collections. This plan consists of three major stages: (1) data entry and proofing, (2) verification of computer records and holdings, and (3) cataloging and shelving of our enormous backlog. The initial state of data entry into the database software system MUSE has bee completed. Updated of the computer records and verification of their accuracy must be continued. This project will support the second major stage of establishing the database for our collection: verification of the accuracy of all computer records by comparing the computer records with the physical holdings of the collection. The hardware of the local area compu ter network will be upgraded to increase the speed of retrieval of information, and bring the system closer to the goal of connection with the Internet computer network. At the conclusion of the project period, the FMNH fish collection records will be among the most accurate specimen databases available and will be accessible to biological researchers worldwide.

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Field Museum of Natural History
United States
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