emblem Technische Universitšt Berlin Technische Universität Berlin
Mineralogical Collections
Dr.Susanne Herting-Agthe, Sekr. BH 1, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1, D-10587 Berlin, Germany
tel ++49 (0)30 - 314 22254, fax 314 72218




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  "You can only work scientifically with a well documented collection".

Geoscientific collections are archives comparable to libraries: you can only use them appropriately with the help of  catalogs etc.

The documentation of the Mineralogical Collections of the Technical University of Berlin consists of inventory numbers, labels, inventory books, catalogs, scientific work and photography. 

inventory book, catalog card, labels, inventory number
inventory numbers Since the end of World War II inventory numbers read as follows: "year/piece number", i.e., a piece with the inv.no. 95/29 has been inventorized in the year 1995 as the 29th piece of that year.
The inventory numbers, small paper signs of about half a cm, are sticked onto the pieces. Since 1988 they are embedded with two component synthetic raisin, for cleaning reasons. 

The inventory numbers are used uniformly throughout the whole documentation to be able to identify the pieces definitely.

Older pieces have inventory numbers following several numbering systems. These numbers are maintained for science history reasons as well as to be able to assign single pieces to  certain partial collections.

labels Since the end of World War II printed form labels of the TU Berlin are used in the standard sizes of the keeping boxes.
The informations filled in contain, as far as available:
  • mineral name (synonyms, variety name etc.)
  • if occasion arises: chemical formula according to  STRUNZ ("Mineralogical Tables")
  • remarks, descriptions (habit, paragenesis etc.)
  • locality, as detailed as possible
  • inventory number
  • if occasion arises: origin and previous owners of the piece
The labelling is generally done by typewriter, since 1988 by handwriting with China ink in addition, for reasons of maintaining the >200 years old style of the collections.

All older labels are kept carefully to document the collection history of the piece in question. (Unfortunately, this has not been done carefully in the past).

inventory books Inventorizing contains necessarily the entry in the inventory book, with the following informations:
  • inventory number
  • inventory date
  • mineral names (varietal names etc.)
  • remarks (i.e. paragenesis, habit etc.)
  • locality, as detailed as possible
  • origin (bought/ dedicated/ changed/ collected by, from the collection of, etc.)
  • if occasion arises: price or declaration of value

Unfortunately, no inventory books are still existing from the times before World War II, they were destroyed during the war.
catalogs At the moment, the total catalog of the systematical mineralogical collection ("main collection") contains app. 2.500 mineral species, in alphabetical order of the mineral names, with the following informations for the single pieces:
  • mineral name (synonyms)
  • crystal chemical formula according STRUNZ 
  • inventory number
  • locality as detailed as possible
  • site (cupboard number - drawer number)
  • number of pieces
  • remarks (habit, varietal name, mixture name, twinning, epitaxy, accompanying minerals, size of the piece etc.)

In addition, there are existing some catalogs for partial collections and partial themes of the collections, respectively.
further informations

Unfortunately, there are existing no catalogs from the times before World War II, they were destroyed during the war. 
scientific research Supporting examination methods as x-ray methods, microscopy and several chemical analytical methods particularly serve mineral and phase determinations, supported by the laboratories and  machine shops of the institute.

The preparations usually are kept together with the pieces in the collection, or in special partial collections (for instance the collection of ore sections). They usally bear the same inventory numbers. 

photography Series of photographs of the vitrines and their exhibits serve documentation purposes as well as insurance matters. Diapositives of single pieces are kept in a special cabinet in alphabetical order of mineral names. 
Since 2006 specimens are photographed digitally, the old diapositives have been digitalized as well.


last version: feb 2012 Herting-Agthe