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Author/Editor: N. Sivasothi
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.

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05 Jul 2007 - Raffles Museum News has shifted to http://news.rafflesmuseum.net

News about NUS' Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Singapore - Archives

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Wed 22 Nov 2006

Tue 28 Nov 2006: 10am - "Museum databases in the global village"

Category : talks

"Museum databases in the global village"

Tuesday, 28th November 2006: 10am - 12pm
A seminar and discussion with
Aaron Steele (UC Berkeley) and N. Sivasothi (NUS)

DBS Conference Room
Blk S5, Level 3,
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Science Drive 4
Visitors may park at Carpark 10
Click for Map.

About the talks:

I: "Going global: The evolution of Raffles Museum's specimen databases." (20 mins)
By N. Sivasothi,
Database Manager,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research,
National University of Singapore.

In the 1970's, data about museum specimens was recorded on a system of catalogue books. In 1999, databasing was initiated. Use of condemmed computers and favouring the ubiquitous Microsoft Excel above the unsupported proprietal MUSE software overcame the non-existent budget.

A verified database of some 19,000 specimens was eventually established for the reptile and amphibians. After a volunteer converted the database to SQL, global researchers were finally provided with web-access.

This database is now being georeferenced in preparation for HerpNET, a collaborative effort by natural history museums to establish a global network, funded by the National Science Foundation (US) and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

The practical issues involved in this migration, conservation use and security will be discussed, as well as the reasons for adopting HerpNET, and the challenges ahead.

II: "Collaborative Databases on a Global Scale" (40 mins)
By Aaron Steele.
Biogeomancer, DigirMapper & Digital MVZ Projects,
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology,
University of California Berkeley, USA.

Globally distributed database networks facilitate the national and international scientific exchange of biodiversity information. The recent impact of aggregating and integrating these data from multiple collections has led to a worldwide authoritative source of knowledge about the identity, relationships, and properties of species across the globe.

In this seminar I will discuss the origins and types of collaborative databases, explain what the DiGIR (Distributed Generic Information Retrieval) Project has accomplished, and examine the HerpNET Project and BioGeomancer as a case study in how collaborative database projects are successful. We will also discuss the IT resources required to operate and maintain these systems in perpetuity.

Aaron Steele is a Herpnet programmer in Singapore to setup the RMBR Herpnet server, and to provide the capability for the similar collaborative vertebrate databases, Manis and Ornis. Although he is a geek, he is used to talking to biologists!


Posted at 4:08PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,