Monday, April 5, 2010

Collection Management III: The Label, part 1

Traditionally, a label is a small card (e.g., 1.5 x 2 inches or 3x5 cm) that accompanies the specimen. (This discussion is not about display labels for competitive exhibits, but for those for the collection "at home.") For mineral specimens, I recommend the following contents:
  • The specimen number
  • The mineral identity (species, possibly variety)
  • Optional: the mineral formula
  • Not optional: the mineral locality information, as exactly as possible
  • A short description
  • Optional: Label design or information indicating the collection from which it comes.
Number: Each specimen has a unique number, and that number will be prominently displayed on the label. Usually, each specimen has its own label, but in some cases several very similar pieces can share the same label.
For example, one collector I know numbers several loose crystals of the same mineral from the same locality as follows: 1234-1, 1234-2, 1234, 1234-4. These can then share the same label numbered 1234, with the description including: "Four (4) loose crystals."

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