NOTE: I have moved to a different system for tracking, similar to the Carnegie Museum style. It is a simple CM 12345 mark. While it was nice to include the locality, year, month in the specimen, I now keep that information separate in an online database for referencing.


I need to keep the order of a growing collection of specimens, so I have developed the following identification system to be used on what I call Collection Pieces. These are recorded in our fossil catalog.

Therefore, an example Identification System code:

Codes shall be deconstructed as follows:

Marking Specimens

Consequently, identification numbers need to be added directly to specimens if possible. I researched different methods and found that archival ink pens seemed the best in class. While white paint works well on dark specimens, I have not used any for marking. I tend not to want to mark the detailed surfaces of specimens with marking materials. If I mark a specimen, I try to mark it off to the side or underside. For limestone, I will use a grinder and grind a flat surface somewhere that does not have fossil detail. I then use a Micron PN archival ink pen to mark directly on the limestone.

Applying a layer of Paraloid B-72 to the surface and marking on top of that is a standard method. You can then later use a solvent to obliterate the mark if desired. You are supposed to apply another layer of B-72 on top of that to protect the mark, but I find the solvent often lifts or muddies the mark. Since the direct method of marking the limestone has proven effective, B-72 has been more used for repairing broken specimens.

Legacy Locality Codes

These legacy codes were used in early 2019 when I started to build the catalog. I have since discontinued usage of these, and they are no longer part of the catalog.

ALAmes Limestone
MMid Level Shale
USUpper Shale
KPieces from an Eastern Gilpin Township Locality
GFragments from a Western Gilpin Township Locality
UUnknown Origin

Early Catalog of Pieces

I added some of the early pieces using legacy collection codes.

Identification System Collection Pieces as a Category

You can find posts from the entire category listing here.

Examples of Identification Systems Elsewhere

I researched identification marking and numbering systems before I developed my own. I wanted to ensure I was not missing anything before setting a standard. Here are some interesting examples in use.