The Natural History Museum in Basel (NMB) has a long tradition in the curation of micropaleontological collections from all over the world. The history of these collections is closely linked with the development in the petroleum industry in various parts of the world from the 1900ies onward, see, for example, Higgins, G.E., (1996), Carr-Brown, B. (2007), Simon, C. (2009), Etter, Knappertsbusch and Costeur (2018), but also with the scientific revolution in paleoceanographic disciplines since about the 1968ies. The Basel NMB holds, most probably the largest micropaleontological collections and archival convolutes from Trinidad (W.I.) of the world. In addition, these collections form an invaluable legacy of the emergence of two classical, but different schools of micropaleontological research- and thinking. In this context the reviews of Vonderschmitt and Reichel (1960), Hottinger (1967), and especially of Hottinger (2013) provide key information to fully understand the historical relationships and scientific reasoning behind the studies, for which the micropaleontological reference collections are deposited at the NMB. The build-up of the micropaleontological collections at the NMB covered an entire century of continuous accumulation, curation, and documentation of research collections. The collections include primary types, references to published and illustrated specimens, study materials, and training and teaching collections from professionals, historical collections, and collections of raw sediments from taxonomic type localities or stratotypes. Due to the buildup of these collections over many decades and under changing standards and topical priorities, not all collections fulfill the criteria of a modern, well organized and throughly documented scientific collection. Instead, the collections at the NMB show a heterogeneous degree of curation and documentation, ranging from hand-written lists with sample numbers to electronic files and full database registration.

The present meta-survey system is intended to help navigate from every point of the world through the micropaleontological collections held at the Natural History Museum in Basel. It is primarily thought to assist curators and collection managers at the NMB to locate materials and documentations, but may be useful to visiting researchers studying the collections in-house or from remote places. Special attention is given to the link the literal information, that is scattered in the publications, study libraries, archives and document all over the museum to the individual collections and specimens. Only in this way it will be possible to scientifically exploit the full value of these the collections. Because of the vast volume of material, this ideal can only be reached on a long-term horizon, by continous improvement and documentation. In this context, the current version of this on-line inventory will never be complete, but hopefully it will assist the generations of curators and scientists for their work.

How to use this collection guide

For further information please contact: Michael Knappertsbusch