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Policy for de-accessioning of material

Specimen material registered in the Herbarium may be deaccessioned from time to time.

Any herbarium officer may nominate material for deaccessioning, on the grounds that it is of no demonstrable scientific or historical value due to:

  1. its unidentifiability, or
  2. an absence of any useful collection data, or
  3. its exact taxonomic and geographic duplication by other and phenologically better specimens, or
  4. excessive damage to and degradation of the specimen,

or any combination of these.

Material identified as meeting one of these criteria will be passed onto the Curator. The Curator shall assess the material nominated for deaccessioning, in consultation with group experts at CANBR or elsewhere when appropriate. If a fertile specimen is collected from a cultivated specimen, the fertile voucher should be housed with the original sterile collection.

Deaccessioning is inadvisable in cases where:

  • the specimen is a voucher for ANBG Living Collections accessions for which live material is still held at ANBG;
  • the specimen is a cited voucher for a published scientific study;
  • the specimen is a voucher for research work in progress.

Herbarium specimens which are vouchers for living material in the ANBG, can be deaccessioned if the following conditions are met:

  • specimens are sterile;
  • are not able to be identified with any certainty;
  • no photograph is housed in the Photograph collection;
  • no seed is housed in the Seed Bank;
  • all live plants in the lineage are dead;
  • the specimen does not exhibit unusual morphology;
  • the specimen is not of high conservation significance

In the case of material nominated only on criterion (c), consideration should be given to donation of the material to another herbarium or reference set.

If the Curator approves deaccession, either by donation or disposal, the following procedure is required prior to disposal of the specimen:

  1. Deaccession and the action taken shall be recorded in the Herbarium registration ledger,
  2. In the ANHSIR database on the Unit screen in the Comments field [Deaccessioned] needs to be added,
  3. In the ANHSIR database on the Item screen in the Item Description field add "Specimen discarded due to XXXX, on DATE, DEACCESSIONER’S NAME".

Eg. Specimen discarded due to lack of fertile material on 27/04/2001, A.J. Whalen.

Permanent loans and bulk deaccessioning

Indefinite or permanent loan of material to other recognised institutions may be authorised by joint decision of the Curator and the CANBR Director. Such transactions are to be registered as loans, not deaccessions, and the material is subject to recall at need.

Bulk deaccessioning of whole taxa (or other classes of specimens) is allowable in exceptional circumstances where the Curator, CANBR Director, and CANBR Board are jointly agreed that the material is of no practical use to CANBR as either reference or research material. In general this will apply only to higher-level taxa on which we do not and will not be conducting reseach (e.g.: diatoms). Such bulk deaccessions should only be done as donation to other institutions, preferrably in exchange for a donation of similar size or importance and of more relevance to CANBR. A taxonomically representative subset should be retained by CANBR in such cases.

B.L. 29.09.2004


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