Detailed instructions for procedure are based on lots of experience with different types of collections, and lots of thought as to what is needed specifically for this collection. These procedures should be followed as closely as possible. Pay particular attention to instructions that are in all capital letters and have words such as NEVER, ALWAYS, DO or DO NOT. If, for any reason, regular procedure must be circumvented or altered or cannot be complied with, the Collections Manager or Supervisor must be informed before continuing with the procedure.
Any procedure can be modified, especially if you can come up with a better way to do it; one that is quicker, more efficient, and more informative to the collection user, or otherwise improves the collection. You may see something or may have heard of something which the designers of this protocol do not know about. Please don't hesitate to make suggestions. However, DO NOT make procedure changes without first informing the Collections Manager or Supervisor.
This is really stupid!!" or "Why is it done this way?"
Many procedures may seem inordinately fussy or detailed and extremely boring. If you think something is stupid, you may not pay as much attention to it when you are performing the procedure. Feel free to ask the Collections Manager or Supervisor why the procedure is done that way (you might phrase it in a less challenging form to get a more friendly answer, since the Collections Manager or Supervisor may have written the procedure). The purpose will be explained, hopefully so that you will understand the necessity of the step in preserving the condition of the fossil or integrity of the data. You may also be correct. It may be a stupid step and in need of revision. Helpful, constructive suggestions for improving the procedures are always welcome.
Suggestions and Explanations
Broad suggestions for procedure are those instructions which, at the discretion of the collections worker, may be improved upon or altered to fit the working preferences and ingenuity of the individual worker. These will usually include a phrase similar to, " . . . should be done . . . " or " . . .can be done. . ." These are not included as an invitation to cut corners and do sloppy work. They are used because it is understood that most rules cannot always be followed to the letter, and that a certain amount of leeway can actually help to promote and improve efficiency.
Explanations for the procedures are included to inform you why a particular step is required for this collection. Most steps have to do with protecting the specimen, protecting the provenance information of the specimen, making the specimen easy to locate within the collection system, and making the overall collection look as professional and up to current standards as possible.