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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Sapphirina auronitens

A drawing by Giesbrecht (1892) of the Copepoda, Sapphirina auronitens Claus, 1863

Loan Procedure

How To Request a Loan from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology

  1. Read the Loan FAQs and Guidelines
  2. Determine precisely which specimens are needed.
    1. At a minimum we require Phylum, Order and/or Family, Genus/Species/Subspecies and, if possible, the Taxonomic Authority. Include USNM number and type status if known. If USNM number and type status are not known then include information such as locality, collector, date collected, etc. The more specific the request the faster the loan can be evaluated, and if approved, processed. The borrower may query Invertebrate Zoology’s on-line catalog to obtain detailed information about our holdings. On average approximately 40% of our collection is represented by an electronic record in our on-line catalog. If help is needed determining the extent of the Invertebrate Zoology collections you can submit an information request to the Curator of the relevant collection.
    2. General requests for specimens of specific life stages or body sizes, from specific locations, collected or identified by specific individuals, or based on other selective criteria will be considered. However these requests require time-consuming surveys and will be processed as time permits.
  3. Complete the “Department of Invertebrate Zoology Loan Request Form
    1. Read the loan requirements and conditions carefully. Several statements require your initials, indicating that you have read, understand and agree to comply. Loans to a faculty adviser for student use must be read and initialed by the faculty member AND the student.
    2. Enter all requested borrower information. Note that you will be asked to confirm whether you currently have specimens on loan and when the loan(s) are due to be returned.
    3. Enter complete information about the specimens included in the loan request.
    4. If you anticipate the need for destructive sampling, analysis or the use of special preparation techniques refer to the section "Requesting Specimens for Sampling, Analysis or Special Preparation" and follow the instructions.
    5. Print the completed loan request form.
      • Initial or sign conditions and requirements where indicated.
      • Sign and date the loan request form. For student loans the faculty adviser and student must both sign and date the request.
  4. Research permit requirements related to your specific loan. For international loans contact your Scientific Authority and your Customs agency and request a written statement regarding permit requirements.
  5. If the loan includes fluid preserved specimens contact your institution’s Shipping Office or hazardous goods shipper and confirm that you have a way to ship fluid preserved specimens back to the Smithsonian at the conclusion of the loan period.
  6. Scan the completed form and information about permits and shipping to pdf format. (If the preparation of a pdf file is not an option, the completed loan request may be scanned to a medium resolution jpg format file. Other file formats, including tif format, will not be accepted.). Incomplete loan requests will not be considered.
    1. Attach the loan request form and associated information to an e-mail and send to the Curator of the relevant collection. A list of the curators, their areas of responsibility and their contact information is provided here. If preferred, the completed paper form and supporting documentation may be faxed or mailed to the appropriate Curator.

      A COMPLETE loan request must include the following:
      • the formal loan request form with required signatures (domestic and international loans)

      • copies of all required permits and MTAs, or a signed statement that the borrower has contacted their local Customs Office and Scientific Authority and has been told that no permits are required (international loans)

      • for foreign loans, a signed statement written in English and the primary language of the country of import and prepared on institution letter head that describes the contents of the shipment, the purpose of the shipment, and the name and contact information of the responsible party (see sample text)

      • confirmation of availability of an acceptable return shipping method domestic and international); borrower MUST state the name of the shipper or the return shipping method that will be used.
      • Incomplete loan requests will NOT be considered. Detailed Loan Procedures are provided in the section How to Request a Loan from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology.

    2. For international loans the borrower must prepare a loan transmittal letter and submit with the loan request either a color pdf copy of the letter or the original letter. The purpose of the transmittal letter is to provide the borrower's local customs officials with information about the shipment so it can quickly be inspected and cleared for delivery. The transmittal letter will be affixed to the package with the other shipping documents. This transmittal letter must:
      • be prepared on institution letterhead
      • be written in BOTH English and the primary language of the country of import
      • accurately describe the contents of the shipment
      • state that the contents are not pathogenic or infectious
      • explain the purpose of the shipment
      • provide the name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address and phone number of the responsible party

      • A sample transmittal letter is provided here.

  7. If requested by the Curator reviewing the loan request, submit the following:
    • Formal facilities report
    • Copy of borrower resume or CV and publication list
    • Copy of relevant project plan or grant proposal
  8. The receipt of your completed request will be acknowledged by the Curator. Your request will not be reviewed until all required documentation is received. You will be advised of the decision on your loan by email. If approved, your request will be forwarded to the Invertebrate Zoology Collection Management Group for processing. Requests are processed in the order received – most loans ship within 4-6 weeks.
  9. It is the borrower’s responsibility to make arrangements for all required import inspections and clearances, including payment of costs associated with these inspections. The borrower must also file all required import declarations.
  10. When the loan is shipped you will receive several copies of the shipping invoice and loan agreement paperwork. You must immediately sign and return the designated copy – this serves as the acknowledgment that the loan was received in good condition. Failure to return the signed loan agreement within 5 business days of receipt of the loan may result in the immediate termination of the loan and the recall of the specimens. No further loans will be made to individuals who fail to comply with the requirement for the timely return of the signed shipping invoice.

How To Request a Loan Extension from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology

  • Read the Loan FAQs and Guidelines
  • Contact the Curator who originally approved your loan at least several days before the due date for your loan.
  • The request MUST BE IN WRITING (e-mail is fine). The request must confirm that the specimens are still in your possession, and are properly curated and securely stored.
  • The request must confirm that you have no past-due loans.
  • Your request must justify the reason for the extension, the duration of requested extension (1 month maximum for types; 6 months maximum for non-types). A second extension may be possible only for non-types.
  • You will be advised whether your request has been granted by email. If your request is declined the specimens must be returned by the original due date.

How To Request Permission to Sample, Analyze or Make a Special Preparation on Department of Invertebrate Zoology Specimens in Your Custody

  • If the specimens were originally sent as a loan permission must be obtained BEFORE any sampling, analytical work or special preparations (permanent or temporary slide mounts, dissecting, sectioning, SEM/TEM preps, etc.) can be done. Instructions for requesting and documenting this permission are provided in the Guidelines for Sampling and Special Preparations. Please refer to these guidelines and follow the instructions if you anticipate using borrowed specimens for any activity that will permanently damage or alter them in any way.

How To Return a Loan to the Department of Invertebrate Zoology

  • Read the Loan FAQs and Guidelines
  • Specimens must be packed to comply with all IATA and other hazardous materials requirements. See the FAQ on shipping for specific information related to these requirements. It is the borrower’s responsibility to obtain any needed permits and arrange for any required pre-shipment inspections or clearances. A copy of the original shipping invoice / loan agreement must be placed inside the package with the specimens. Borrowers without access to an institution supported central shipping office are strongly encouraged to contact a local customs broker for assistance with the return of the specimens.
  • Sample Transmittal Letter for International Shipments

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