Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
Collections Information System Re-engineering Project
This project had its conceptual origin when
Peter Rauch began to work with the MVZ's legacy database, TAXIR, in 1990.
Although now retired, Peter remains a persistent and valuable consultant to
this ongoing effort. Jim Beach took the project from conception through its
first year, helping to bring Stan Blum on board and setting a course for
the successful creation of a new collections information system for the Museum.
Without Stan, however, there would be no new database. After familiarizing
himself with the intricacies of our curatorial practices and legacy data,
he completed the requirements analyses and constructed the data model. Chris
Meacham was responsible for the majority of the code that effectively munged
20-year old TAXIR data into a form consistent with the fields in Stan's model.
Mike Blasingame deftly migrated the munged data into our model, while Effie
Dilworth has been our faithful Sybase administrator.
Funding was received from the National Science
Foundation in 1996 to pay for the final step of the project, development of
a client/server application for the highest priority components of our
collections' information system. In January, 1997 John Wieczorek was hired to
write that code. As a result of his development efforts, the Museum now uses a
state-of-the-art multi-tier server architecture that isolates the business
rules from both the client and the database. Sophisticated data entry and
query applications for all aspects of the Museum database can now be used by
Museum personnel on the web. The Museum received additional support from NSF
through their Research Experience for Undergraduates
(REU) Program in May, 1998. This money
allowed us to extend our development effort to include the secondary
components of the Museum's collections data, i.e., information contained in
field notebooks, photographs, and archival correspondence. As a result of
these efforts, all MVZ specimen data as well as data and images from the
photograph and field notebook collections are now freely accessible online.
Throughout all stages of development Barbara Stein bravely faced the future
and directed the efforts to bring the project to fruition. We trust that open
access to MVZ data is of great value to a wide audience and we hope that
other development efforts will take advantage of the archive of relevant
documents placed at this site.
Document are available as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files:
PDF viewers are available from
Adobe, Inc. for viewing
and printing the model on Macintosh, PC, and Unix workstations. The
information modeling was accomplished with InfoModeler software from
Asymetrix, Inc. Infomodeler uses fact-based "object-role modeling" which
generates conceptual and logical models (schema). Stan Blum has produced
a useful "Primer on Object Role Modeling"
(5/95) in PDF file format.
MVZ Contact: John Wieczorek