The collection database
The Department of Invertebrate Zoology began the electronic catalogization of its collection in 1997. The catalogue system is an application of the relational database program Filemaker Pro (currently version 7.0), which has been specially adapted to the requirements of our collection and can be modified whenever necessary. The system consists of two separate catalogues, one for type material and the other for non-type specimens. Both catalogues are linked to a taxonomic database, which contains minimum taxonomic information to assist searching. A feature of this database is that it contains synonym lists which enable the user to find a certain species without knowing its current valid name. Additionally, labels don't have to be updated when species names change, since the database is able to recognise lots as belonging to the same species even if species names differ. Locality data are stored in a separate database which is linked to both catalogues. Thus, locality data need to be entered only once and can then be linked to as many lots as needed. Since a large part of our collection has been collected on expeditions which often yielded a large number of species from each locality (often several hundred), this speeds up data entry considerably. In addition to this basic information, the catalogue system allows the entry of literature references in a linked reference database. Two additional databases contain information about the historic expeditions which collected parts of our material, and information about scientists and other persons with connection to the department. Both these databases can be accessed from within the catalogue system and are linked to the locality database.
The catalogue system prints a large variety of labels and reports for all purposes. Inquiries allow searches for criteria with all kinds of information. The databases are accessed by various people in a mixed Mac/PC network. At the end of 2005 about 80 000 of our over 600 000 lots have been electronically registered, from a limited range of species and localities. During catalogization we check species identifications as far as possible and collect all available locality data. This is a painstaking work, since many of the older specimens are poorly documented, but our aim is a high quality of the data in the catalogue. As we are not yet able to publish our type catalogue on the Internet we offer a substitute for a type catalogue, presenting a list of authors of types from our collection. Scientists are welcome to contact our collection manager Karin Sindemark for inquiries about our material.
The catalogue also contains a loan management system which is linked to both lot catalogues showing which lots are available and which are out on loan. This loan system also keeps a history of loans on each lot. It automatically prints loan and reminder forms and checks for overdue loans.
The structure of the present database system is shown in the following diagram. For more detailed information please contact the database manager Sabine Stöhr.
Since August 2004, the database is searchable via GBIF.