The Registry of US Federal Scientific Collections

The registry of US Federal Scientific Collections (USFSC) is a comprehensive resource of information about object-based scientific collections that are owned and/or managed by US Federal government departments and agencies. The registry is supported by the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections (IWGSC) and managed by the Smithsonian Institution.

The main goals of this registry are:

  1. To improve access to information about US Federal scientific collections and the institutions that maintain them; and
  2. To improve interoperability among databases by providing an authority file of unique codes and machine-readable identifiers for institutions and their collections.

What are scientific collections?

IWGSC interprets “scientific collections” to mean collections of physical objects that have been gathered for research and other purposes, and are set aside for long-term preservation because of their potential use and impact in the future. Documents and data that are connected directly to these objects are considered part of the collections (e.g., field notes, maps, photographs and digital images). 

Designed to be truly interdisciplinary, the registry of USFSC includes and accepts data on institutions and collections that span all scientific disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, biology, biomedicine, earth and space sciences, ethnology, and applied fields such as agriculture, environmental management, technology and veterinary science. Fields such as art, culture, and history (other than the history of science and technology) are not included. Archives that do not relate directly to objects of scientific study will also not be included (e.g., libraries, galleries).

The registry of USFSC's Data and Management

Information on institutions, collections and staff members is entered into the registry of USFSC by collection staff members and then approved by a moderator. Content is maintained by the personnel that work with each of the institutions and collections. After initial registration, only periodic reviews and updates are required as staff changes or collections are moved or consolidated.

For a more complete description of the structure of the registry of USFSC and to see a few example entries, please visit the registry of USFSC Data Structure page.

If you’re having any problems registering or updating your records in the registry of USFSC, please contact us!