Databasing "FAQ" compilation? (Re: Specimen Databases for PC)

Doug Yanega dyanega at DENR1.IGIS.UIUC.EDU
Tue Oct 24 10:48:00 CDT 1995

>I agree with Karen many people use dBase, and use it in conjunction with
>other programs.  We have two curators who have PC's and are using WP, so I
>would be very interested in the manual Nancy is talking about.
>We use dBase IV, but many of the collection managers also use Macintosh
>versions of: MS Excel, MS Word and FileMaker Pro to enter data, create
>labels and do reports (almost everyone has a Mac on their desk, while the
>dBase PC is in a central area).  We have been working on a manual on how to
>convert/move files between dBase and the other programs we use.
>It would be great to share the information we have each gained with the
>rest of the dBase user community.  It would also be nice to have it all in
>one place, as Karen suggested.

If you're interested in updating from Dbase to something more
sophisticated, probably the best thing on the market presently is FoxPro,
which has both Mac and PC versions which are compatible with one another,
allow for remote multi-user access, AND are capable of using Dbase files.
The relational database structure is very powerful and efficient, as well,
so a collection inventory takes a fraction of the space it does in
something like FileMaker Pro (roughly 10% of the memory requirements for
storage). There should soon be a new relational version of FileMaker
released, as well as the BIOTA collection database program (which may or
may not be Mac-only, I've heard different rumors), so there is certainly
new software on the horizon which may make life even easier. It would be
interesting if someone could take the time to do a "Consumer's
Reports"-style comparison of the pros and cons of the many database
programs on the market, as well as doing a compatibility analysis (so folks
can know in advance which programs can be updated to which other programs
with minimal extra expense and difficulty). I suspect much of that
knowledge is already out there, scattered about...were I in a position to
do so (I am not), I'd offer to run a web page devoted to a discussion of
databases...perhaps someone else might be interested in making a complete
compilation of what there is, where it can be obtained, and comments from
users on each.

Doug Yanega       Illinois Natural History Survey, 607 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA      phone (217) 244-6817, fax (217) 333-4949
 affiliate, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dept. of Entomology
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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