Raffles Museum news
Research and education at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore.
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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
DBS Conference Room
About the talks:
I: "Going global: The evolution of Raffles Museum's specimen databases." (20 mins)
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)
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!