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Policy for Database Utilization

The Texas Natural History Collections (TNHC) supports the Natural Science Collection Alliances’ [previously known as Association of Systematics Collections' (ASC)] acknowledgement of the “...need to share data from collections as broadly as possible within the constraint of institutional stewardship responsibilities” (Hathaway, E.C. and K.E. Hoagland (eds.) 1993. ASC Guidelines for Institutional Database Policies. 76 pp. The Association of Systematics Collections, Washington, D.C.). It is in the spirit of that document that TNHC offers public access to its databases through this Internet connection, but asks that users be cognizant of the nature of the data, and that they abide by the following policy for database utilization.

The Nature of the data

Texas Natural History Collection (TNHC) specimen databases are defined as records derived from field catalogs, field notes, specimen labels, card files, catalogs and ledgers. These databases include electronic storage media and/or data files or data products in a variety of formats including electronic and printed. They are an integral part of the collections and function not only as a resource for researchers world-wide, but also are used internally for tracking specimen use and collection activities. In spite of the important role played by specimen databases, they ARE NOT to be considered primary data. Despite our best attempts to assure accuracy, TNHC cannot be responsible for specimen identification, or data verification. It is up to the researcher to verify all database entries or associated information before reporting or publishing data in any form. Information from the TNHC databases is intended to support rather than replace the use of the collections themselves. We encourage researches to visit our collections to inspect specimens or to request loans when that is not possible.

Policy for database utilization

Any use of data from TNHC databases must be acknowledged, including a statement that the specimen-linked database from which the data were derived is maintained by the Texas Natural History Collection of the Texas Natural Science Center of The University of Texas at Austin. This acknowledgement must be made in any publication, advertisement, correspondence or public testimony that alludes to or mentions such data even if the data have been reorganized or added to for any purpose whatsoever.

The data may not be passed through to any other individual or organization without the written consent of the appropriate Curator of the Texas Natural History Collection.

Information contained in TNHC databases is bound by University of Texas regulations on intellectual property. Ownership and copyright are retained by the University and the state of Texas.

TNHC maintains the right to restrict access to certain data fields and to charge reasonable user fees for specialized data retrieval requests.

TNHC does not warrant that any of its data are appropriate for any applications in which users may apply them, and reserves the right to update the online data files at any time.