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Rocks & Minerals
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Introducing minID: The New Central Mineral
Jolyon Ralpha a 81 Woodcote Grove Road Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 2AL United Kingdom
Published online: 05 Jun 2014.
To cite this article: Jolyon Ralph (2014) Introducing minID: The New Central Mineral Registration System, Rocks &
Minerals, 89:4, 364-369, DOI: 10.1080/00357529.2014.907660
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00357529.2014.907660
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THE rkenstoneA www.iRocks.com
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The 2014 Dallas
AUGUST 22-23, 2014 “The best weekend of minerals in my entire life!” - Dave Wilber
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A lot of interesting things happen behind the scenes at the Munich Mineral Show, and my main reason to attend is to have the opportunity to meet other people from the mineral world.
Sometimes our discussions are about specific issues relating to mindat.org, and sometimes they are of a far more general nature.
One of these discussions at the Munich Show in 2013 was with Bryan Swoboda, of BlueCap Productions (bluecap productions.com), who produces the fabulous What’s Hot in
Tucson/What’s Hot in Munich videos. We were discussing the
JOLYON RALPH 81 Woodcote Grove Road
Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 2AL
United Kingdom firstname.lastname@example.org
Jolyon Ralph, an amateur mineralogist and Internet developer, created the mindat.org website in 2000 (Petrov 2010) and, together with his wife, Katya, developed gemdat.org in 2012 (Ralph and Ralph 2013).
Volume 89, July/August 2014 365
Central Mineral Registration
Figure 1. Overview of a section of the 2013 Munich Gem and Mineral Show.
D ow nl oa de d by [T he
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L ibr ary ] a t 1 7:2 4 2 0 D ec em be r 2 01 4 366 ROCKS & MINERALS age-old problems of how we know that the information being presented to us by a mineral dealer upon buying a specimen is either accurate or complete. This is not necessarily because a dealer is dishonest; it can simply be that the dealer bought a poorly curated collection or is relying upon the label information that came with the specimen.
Wouldn’t it be nice, we thought, if there were a central registry database where information about a mineral specimen could be permanently stored so that it could always be accessed, regardless of how many times the specimen changes hands in the future. “I have an idea how to do it,” I said.
Back in the United Kingdom after the trip, and now with the advantage of working full-time on mindat.org (thanks to everyone who helped with our fundraising campaign),
I started planning out the system that we needed, and it gained the name minID.
For a system like this to work, two things are required: (1) a simple code that can be associated with (ideally, physically attached to) a mineral specimen, and (2) a means of storing and retrieving information related to that code.
Normal numbering systems would not really scale to what is needed, but a quick calculation showed that a sixdigit alphanumeric code would generate nearly a billion combinations, and a six-digit code is not too difficult to stick on a specimen’s small label.
Mindat.org would provide the ideal central database to link this to. Not only do we already have a powerful and free specimen cataloguing tool, we also have the mineral and locality database needed to help verify the information that is entered.