Following a discussion that took place on the TAXACOM e-mail list it has been decided to put forward the following proposal for consideration and comment by interested parties.


The Association is proposed in order to:

  • provide a single catalogue source for private* (i.e. non-government funded) systematic collections;
  • promote the interests and long term stability of private systematic collections;
  • facilitate access to private systematic collections by all biologists;
  • encourage co-operation between private systematic collections and public institutions;
  • mediate in cases of dispute between private collections and other individuals or institutions;
  • facilitate the sharing of resources, information, expertise and facilities;
  • improve access to equipment and materials through co-operative purchases and negotiation;
  • publish updated lists of type material in member collections (if not published separately by such collections);
  • investigate the production of a new journal to facilitate the publication of taxonomic papers based on material in member collections.

* Affiliate member status will be available to public collections that wish to participate.


The objectives of the association are:

  • to elect a committee to deal with the business of the Association;
  • to allow the committee to appoint an administrator to handle general correspondence and finances;
  • to establish the Association as a legally registered not-for-profit organization;
  • to create a web site with contact details of member collections, and other information;
  • to publish an electronic annual report and newsletter;
  • to raise funds through registration and annual subscription fees to cover operating costs;
  • to raise funds through other means for specific projects within the general remit of the association;
  • to represent members in dealings with government, conservation and institutional bodies;
  • to represent members in respect to the international movement of scientific material under CITES or other regulations;
  • to assist members to obtain collecting permits for field research;
  • to develop a web accessible database of type specimens and available taxa.


The Association will not:

  • have any rights to or over the private systematic collections of its members;
  • interfere with members rights to lend or borrow material;
  • interfere with members rights to exchange, sell or dispose of material;
  • interfere with individual arrangements made between members, or with other individuals or institutions outside the Association.

Association Responsibilities

The Association should:

  • record ownership, address and other changes to private systematic collections;
  • facilitate access to type material held by members for study by any member of the public;
  • facilitate, on request, the disposal of redundant material by sale, exchange or gift;
  • provide standard conditions for the loan of or access to study material;
  • record details of published articles or papers based wholly or in part on member’s material.

Member Responsibilities

Members will be required to:

  • advise the Association of ownership, address and other changes to their private systematic collections;
  • allow reasonable access* to type material in their collections for study by any member of the public;
  • notify the Association of borrowers who abuse their loan conditions;
  • make their own arrangements* for loans or access;
  • advise the Association of published articles or papers based wholly or in part on material in their collections and require that authors provide a reprint or copy of each to the Association on request.

* good quality digital or photographic images are the preferred alternative to loans in the case of type, valuable or fragile material.

Contacts and Communication

For further information or to make comments on this proposal please contact Martin Pickersgill or Lynn Raw.

An e-mail discussion group has been set up to facilitate the the exchange of views and information by people involved with private biological systematics collections. This will help with the development of the proposed association and allow discussion and modification of the stated aims and objectives with a view to drawing up a constitution and articles of association.

To join the list follow this link – pbiocoll list – and follow the instructions.

This site was last updated on 19 September 2004

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