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Los almacenes de la naturaleza: el trabajo de catalogación en las colecciones de Historia Natural / Nature storerooms: the work of cataloguing the collections of Natural history

AuthorsGonzález-Fernández, José E.
Natural History
Issue Date2013
CitationMemorias de la Real Sociedad Española de Historia Natural Segunda época: 85- 98 (2013)
AbstractSince prehistoric times Humanity due to necessity, curiosity or fascination by the beauty has been collecting different curious or useful natural productions of a very diverse nature. Aware of the interest of the Greeks by the Natural history and is generalized the idea of considering Aristotle as the first naturalist and father of biology. The Romans continued the interest of the Greeks and, after the lethargy to medieval science; the Renaissance brought with it the rebirth of interest for the Natural History. During the 16th century, this interest is embodied in the `curiosity cabinets¿ created by nobles and potentates. The years are passing and, during the 18th century, the consolidation of the greatest modern museums occurs: British Museum of London, Real Gabinete de Historia Natural of Madrid, Museum National d¿Histoire Naturelle of Paris. etc. The collection social concept historic evolution until XVII Century is briefly described as well as its transformation during the following centuries, since a merely descriptive science until nowadays. The nomenclature systematization, the development of disciplines like Ecology, Ethnology, Biogeography, Genetics, Biochemistry, etc, have demanded new collection specimen¿s preservation methods and techniques and the complete information preservation. Once it is known the information requirements that some of the most modern scientific disciplines demands. A parameter series, not only the common ones used till now by more historical disciplines, needed in the new catalogues are proposed. And so other formats that nowadays or in the future can give information: photographs, animal sound recordings, altitude, associated flora or fauna, etc. The diverse uses in the actual and future research that preparation techniques gives as well as the different preservation methods are referred. We insist on the convenience of record in a precise way all these aspect on the catalogue, so scientist can previously know the availability of the specimens useful for their research. By means of different theoretical examples the utility of make catalogs of the whole or part of the collections is recommended, because there are always certain aspect of the collection: species abundance, geographical distribution, species richness, that make our collection rich in a precise aspect: with a significant number of endemism, for didactic use, etc. Some examples of the importance for the collection of a precise realization of collection catalogues, even its own production, are related. These aspects are important to prevent disasters due to lack of information or because this information is incorrect or insufficient and cannot be used in case of specimens, or their data, destruction or deterioration. In many cases collection catalogues data are the only information that it is known about specimens belonging to extinct or endangered species. Finally we insist that these catalogues are scientific works, and must be done as any other scientific work, moreover thinking that on certain occasions can last more than the specimens labelled with the data gathered in them.
Identifiersissn: 1132-0869
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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