Wet collections accession: a workflow based on a large stonefly (Insecta, Plecoptera) donation

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This study details a workflow used to accession a large stonefly (Plecoptera) collection resulting from several donations. The eastern North American material of Kenneth W. Stewart (deceased, University of North Texas), the entire collection of Stanley W. Szczytko (deceased, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point), and a small portion of the Barry C. Poulton collection (active, United States Geological Survey, Columbia, Missouri) were donated to the Illinois Natural History Survey in 2013. These 5,767 vials of specimens were processed to help preserve the specimen legacy of these world renowned Plecoptera researchers. The workflow used an industrialized approach to organize the specimens taxonomically, image the specimens and labels, and place the specimens into new storage. Utilizing the images as a verbatim data source, we transcribed labels in iterative steps that yielded more information with each pass. The data were normalized, locations georeferenced, all specimen data formatted to meet Darwin Core Archive format for occurrence data, and a data set created using Pensoft's Integrated Publishing Toolkit. This is the first time that any of the specimen data has been made available electronically. We also provide two important electronic supplements that include the Bill P. Stark (active, Mississippi College) Oklahoma field notebook for 1971 and 1972 detailing locations for many coded stonefly specimens in the Stewart collection, and the coded locations of B. C. Poulton's Arkansas and Missouri study. Again, we have linked coded labels in vials to normalized and georefenced site data. We confirmed 243 stonefly species were contained within the collections, and the potential for many more species exists among the specimens identified to family and genus level. Twenty-one new state, province, and other significant stonefly records are reported herein with all identifications verified by the senior author, often through consultation with other stonefly taxonomists. Researchers are encouraged to utilize the specimen data, form collaborations with the authors, and borrow specimens for research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere30256
JournalBiodiversity Data Journal
StatePublished - 2018


  • digitization
  • donations
  • imaging
  • natural history specimens
  • wet collections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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