Quick note about a tool I've cobbled together as part of the phyloinformatics course, which addresses a long standing need I and others have to extract specimen codes from text. I've had this code kicking around for a while (as part of various never-finished data mining projects), but never got around to releasing it, until now. It is very crude (basically a bunch of regular expressions), and there's a lot which could be done to improve it (not least starting with a complete list of museum specimen codes, rather than just those I've come across in, say Zootaxa and BioStor).
You can try the tool at http://iphylo.org/~rpage/phyloinformatics/services/specimenparser.php. Paste in some text and it will try and extract museum codes. The tool tries to handle ranges of specimens (e.g., MHNSM 1808-09), and some of the more common specimen numbering schemes.
Comments welcome. If you are looking for a source of text, papers in Zookeys or Zootaxa are a good place to start (especially papers on vertebrates where specimen numbers are often used). BioStor is also a good source: if you're looking at a paper in BioStor click on the "Text" link to get the OCR text for an article and paste that into the form at . For example, the text for Systematics of the Bufo coccifer complex (Anura: Bufonidae) of Mesoamerica is available at http://biostor.org/reference/97426.text.
The extraction tool can also be called as a web service using POST to get back the results in JSON.