When the fossils are delivered to the DMNS, paleontology curator Kirk Johnson completes the requisite paperwork and establishes a DMNS locality number for the fossil site. All completed paperwork is forwarded to the registrar who sends a donation form and thank you letter to each landowner where the fossils were collected. Or, if the fossils were collected from state or federal land, reports are submitted for the collecting permits.
Fossils are stored in metal cabinets in a collections area where the temperature and humidity can be carefully controlled. In addition to safely storing the fossils, the Museum must keep a central record of the collection contents. A tag is stored with each specimen recording the fossil locality and taxonomic information.
The Museum's catalog consists of literally thousands of individual catalog sheets. The left-most column is a sequential number that becomes the fossil's catalog number. Also recorded for each fossil is the available taxonomic information, including its phylum, class, order, and the lowest identifiable taxon. Other data recorded for the fossil include the locality where it was collected, its geologic age, and who collected it. Written entries in the catalog are later entered into the Museum's electronic database. The DMNS plans to make this database available on the Web in the near future.