As governments impose increasingly stringent regulations on the collection of bird specimens and as man alters ever greater areas of habitat with the loss of many of their contained species, museum specimens increase immeasurably in importance. Yet at present, museum collections do not contain an adequate representation of the world's avifauna and, unfortunately, are not likely to do so. Thus, it is imperative that data associated with specimens that are obtained be as complete as possible. To this end, we describe categories of information with wide application to many types of studies, outline character states, and recommend standard forms of data notation. We recognize that under certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to record more limited data. However, we encourage at least those engaged in general collecting to record as many of these standard data as possible.