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A specimen is typically a single organism stored into a museum collection. In some cases a specimen can contain several organisms (e.g. insects in a jar). Data about all these kinds of specimens can be recorded into Kotka.

Data can be recorded either with an entry form (Specimens > Add) or by importing from an Excel file (Tools > Import).

Excel templates can be generated with Excel generator (Tools > Excel generator).

Specimens can have many data fields (currently over 100), but only few of them are mandatory. Others you can use if they are relevant in your case.

Data structure

Specimen data is stored as a document containing hierarchical elements, each of which contain several data fields.


  • Document
    • Collecting event
      • Specimen/observation
        • Identification
        • Type information

All of the elements (except for the root document) in the hierarchy are repeating: there can be zero to several of them in one document.

Elements contain data fields describing that element. Most of the fields can have only one value, but some of them are repeating, i.e. they can contain several values. For example, a specimen can only be from a single country, but there can be several collectors.

In most cases, you only need to know that a specimen can have zero to several identifications. One of these can be marked as preferred. This will then be used as the primary name when specimen data is published. (If no preferred identification is chose, the latest will be used.)

Darwin Core mapping

Tentative mapping from Kotka to DwC: Kotka-DarwinCore-mapping.xlsx

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