Skip to Content

Specimen Data

Searches and Requests

Our vertebrate specimen records are fully computerized* and are web searchable via the portals of GBIF(Global Biodiversity Information Facility), MaNIS (Mammal Networked Information System), HerpNET(Herpetological Collections Database Network), ORNIS (Ornithological Information System), FishNet2(Fish Specimen Database Network), and VertNet (Vertebrate Collections Database Network)

These search portals exclude some data, e.g. specimen measurements, necropsy reports, 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

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

Data Use Policy 

Vertebrate data records from Michigan State University Museum may be used by individual researchers or research groups, but they may not be repackaged, resold, or redistributed in any form without the express written consent of the appropriate curator. If any records are used in an analysis or report, the provenance of the original data must be acknowledged, and any resulting publication or report sent to the Collections Manager (digital copies, book citations, and links to abstracts are acceptable). Our institutional acronym is MSU; the official collection 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.