Release of Biota (collections DB software)

Robert K. Colwell Colwell at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU
Wed Jan 15 13:06:26 CST 1997

In response to references to Biota in December TAXACOM messages (OConnor,
Poole, Holmgren, etc. in Collections DB Design and Barcode threads), and
given the obvious relevance to the interests of many TAXACOM readers, I don
my flame-retardant cloak to announce the publication by Sinauer Associates
of "Biota: The Biodiversity Database Manager."

Biota is a specimen-based, biological data and collections management
application intended for individuals, institutions, and projects in
evolutionary biology and ecology. The program comes with a comprehensive,
profusely illustrated, printed manual.

A single-user, stand-alone version of Biota (BiotaApp) and a Client/Server
capable version (Biota4D, which requires 4D Sever to run) are both
available now for the Macintosh OS (Macintosh, PowerMac, and compatibles).

A functionally identical Windows (3.1 and 95) version and a cross-platform
Client/Server version are currently in beta testing, with an expected
release date in the next 2-3 months. (Data files are completely version and
platform independent.) I will announce the release of the Windows versions
on TAXACOM and on the Biota website (see below).

For full details on Biota, including features, Table of Contents of the
manual, data model, and ordering information, visit the Biota website at or Sinauer's website at

Biota's features include:

*Easy-to-use graphical interface to a fully relational database structure.
*Efficient tools for recording, maintaining, querying, and analyzing
specimen- or lot-based data.
*Full geographic and taxonomic information.
*Species images.
*Easy plain-text im/exporting to/from all tables.
*Exports specimen flat files with any selection of fields from related tables.
*Exports Web-ready hierarchical taxonomic/specimen files in HTML.
*Exports character matrices in NEXUS format.
*Exports virtually journal-ready Specimens Examined lists.
*Exports species-by-sample incidence or abundance matrices.
*Unlimited user-definable auxiliary fields.
*User-definable core field names, default entries, field entry choice
lists, and wild-card lookups.
*Automatic maintenance of a specimen identification "audit-trail."
*Formatted and custom reports and labels (herbarium specimen labels;
locality and det labels for pinned, pickled, or slide-mounted specimens).
*Recursive host-guest specimen system (e.g. herbivore-plant, parasite-host,
*Species-level synonymy system.
*Straightforward specimen loan/return management system.
*Barcode or manual input for specimen entry, retrieval, loans, and loan
*Dialog screens in English or Spanish.
*Client-server readiness (TCP/IP based; 4D Server required to run in this

Please e-mail me directly if you have specific technical questions about
Biota that are not answered by the information at

Robert K. Colwell, Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, U-42
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269-3042
Tel: 860-486-4395   Fax: 860-486-3790  Internet: <colwell at>

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