Michigan State University masthead

Specimen Data

Images of  wooden loan boxes on a table, a man examining a fossil outside, students in a class examining mammal skulls, two people collecting measurements with large calipers, and two mice of the genus Peromyscus

Searches and Requests

Our vertebrate specimen records are fully computerized* and are web searchable via the portals of GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), iDigBio (Integrated Digitized Biocollections Resource), FishNet2 (Fish Specimen Database Network), and VertNet (Vertebrate Collections Database Network)

These search portals exclude some data, e.g. specimen measurements, field notes, and census records (such as our early 1900s U.S. Biological Survey bird ledgers). Inquiries about searching, records, or requests for data not appearing online should be directed to the Collections Manager. Include the following information in your communication:

  • Name of institution
  • Name of requester (if student, include academic level and name of faculty advisor)
  • Institution address and e-mail address
  • Title or brief description of project
  • Information requested
Image of Biological Survey Bird Census Records

We are in the process of adding and verifying data. Please notify the Collections Manager of any errors encountered.

Acknowledgement in Publications

If vertebrate specimen records are used in an analysis, report, or publication, the provenance of the original data should be acknowledged, and any resulting publication or report sent to the Collections Manager (digital copies, book citations, and links to abstracts or publications are acceptable). Our official acronym is MSU for mammalogy, ornithology, and vertebrate paleontology specimens; and MSUM for herpetology and ichthyology specimens.

*Museum records were computerized between 1993 and 2001 with extensive support from the Michigan State University Museum and Offices of the Provost, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and Vice Provost for Computing and Technology. We use the Specify Biodiversity Collections Management Database System.