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Practices & Protocols
These collections are managed with the help of computers. All computers are networked together and databases can be reached from anywhere in the repository.
The databases range in complexity from simple Microsoft Access (MSAccess) tables to the complex relational database Specify using Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL). All our 'biological' data will be migrated to this latter application. Incoming collections which are not associated with our current catalogs, are entered directly into Specify.
The non-biological portion of the collection, rocks, minerals, gems, meteorites, tektites will remain within our current system, migrating from MSAccess to the more scalable MSSQL. SQL Server is more capable of handling large amounts of data gracefully.
In addition the databases are linked to a geographic information system (GIS) map of the main repository.
To quote the developers:
"Specify is a research software application, database, and network interface for biological collections information.
It manages specimen data such as descriptions of collecting locations, participants and determination histories as well as information about collections transactions such as loans, exchanges, accessions and gifts........
By adopting Specify with its web and DiGIR interfaces an institution avoids the significant ongoing costs of software development, maintenance and support; obtains a capable computing platform for handling collection management transactions; and brings its data to the burgeoning environmental informatics research infrastructure."