specimen databases

John Edmondson xme09 at DIAL.PIPEX.COM
Fri Aug 11 21:11:51 CDT 2000

I would strongly endorse the comments made by Matt Loder (11 August) regarding long-term maintenance of "home-grown" specimen databases. Like Sean Edwards' Manchester Museum, NMGM has recently adopted a general purpose Museum package (Mimsy 2000) which is being configured to interface with the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) data model. This is worth checking out, even by non-UK-based  taxacomers, for the way it handles species directories.  The home page is http://www.nbn.org.uk/ and there is some information on the data model on the Recorder 2000 pages within this site. 

There is a fundamental difference between systems which have been optimised for data entry and associated processes (such as specimen label or bar-code generation), and those which allow access to data by non-specialist users and those not initiated into the mysteries of taxonomic hierarchies. Common standards, rather than standard software, is the key issue. We are just starting to find out how to integrate our existing botanical, zoological and geological collections records. It should be an interesting experience!

Liverpool Museum

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