The MCZ contains over 21-million specimens in nine research collections. Many of these collections have their specimen data captured and accessible for analyses, such as georeferencing. Data capture for the remaining collections within the MCZ is an ongoing museum-wide priority.

The museum has migrated its legacy specimen records from multiple independent sources to a single centralized database, MCZbase. This new database conforms to recognized standards for natural history collections including the ability to manage and track collection management duties, as well as make the MCZ's historically and scientifically significant holdings available to researchers and the public alike. In addition, various forms of digital media, GenBank data, and other information are linked to the relevant specimen record(s) and are readily accessible through the standard searching protocols.

Outside researchers are encouraged to work in conjunction with MCZ staff to enhance MCZ specimen documentation with data obtained during the research process. The MCZ provides guidelines for researchers to facilitate the efficient intake of specimen information, digital media, and other research data into the museum database, MCZbase. For additional information, or for help with circumstances not covered by these guidelines, please contact MCZ Collections Operations.

MCZbase also meets standards for biodiversity databases and will facilitate numerous worldwide collaborations including, but not limited to, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). 

Researcher Guidelines

The MCZ provides guidelines to researchers to facilitate the efficient capture of various research data to enhance MCZ specimen information in the museum database, MCZbase. Questions regarding data capture and formatting standards should be directed to the relevant collection.

Guidelines for Digital Media provided to the MCZ

  • Format and filename instructions for images, audio, video, CT-scan data and other digital media associated with an MCZ specimen

Guidelines for submitting MCZ Catalog Numbers to supplement Specimen Data for GenBank

  • Data instructions to accompany GenBank procedures on submitting sequence data obtained from MCZ voucher specimens

Guidelines for submitting MCZ Catalog Numbers to NCBI BioProject & BioSample Records

  • Data instructions to accompany NCBI BioProject and BioSample procedures on submitting next-generation sequence data obtained from MCZ voucher specimens

Guidelines for recording Locality Data in the Field for the MCZ

  • Locality data are an important part of any museum voucher specimen. Before collecting, review the relevant types of data needed to accompany each specimen to be cataloged properly into the MCZ. For faster and more efficient cataloging, collectors should use an MCZ data collection spreadsheet.