birds on internet

Tue Mar 23 13:48:02 CST 1993

22 March 1993

The catalog from the University of Puget Sound bird collection is available
over Internet.  This catalog consists of 18,500+ records of "core data" which
includes the museum number, species name, sex, plumage, country, state
(or other geopolitical entity), county/other, date, and preparation.   We
have made our catalog available for our own remote queries and to aid
others in locating specimens for research.  Specimens are available for loan
and we are interested in increasing specimen representation through
exchanges.  Initially, the catalog is accessible by obtaining a password from
Gary Shugart or Dennis Paulson at "slater at".  Eventually, we plan to
make the catalog available in a public directory for anonymous ftp and for
access via gopher.

This initial step in data sharing has been contemplated for some time and
was done for two reasons.  First, we wanted to test the feasibility of using
software translators that write data from a custom application to a
standardized format.  We prefer this approach to standardization, rather
than adopting generic curation software, because we can then use curation
software specifically customized for our personal and in house needs.  This
allows great latitude in customization at the application level.  Procedures
are imbedded in the application that write the data to standard format.  A
second goal of data sharing to increase the use of our specimens and data.
The University of Puget Sound has the largest computerized bird collection
in the northwest USA and the Internet catalog will allow others to view
our holdings at their convenience.  However, at the outset we wish to monitor
usage, therefore we still have the interim step of obtaining a password.
Use of data from the catalog in publications or in secondary databases
should be done only after verification.   The catalog changes frequently as
we add specimens and proof the data.  A new version of catalog will be
uploaded weekly or as frequently as changes necessitate.

A search of 18,500 records takes 10-20 seconds.

At present the Internet version of the UPS catalog can be searched
remotely using simple string search utility .  Only string searches are
possible.  This type of search is not sophisticated, but that's the beauty, no
learning required.

For search instructions or password, contact:

Gary Shugart or Dennis Paulson
Slater Museum of Natural History
University of Puget Sound
Tacoma, WA 98416
206 756-3798 or slater at (Internet)

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