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Migrating Entomologys Collection Management System to EMu Adrian Hine.

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Presentation on theme: "Migrating Entomologys Collection Management System to EMu Adrian Hine."— Presentation transcript:

1 Migrating Entomologys Collection Management System to EMu Adrian Hine

2 Programme Timeline Oct - DecJan - MarApr - JunJul - SepOct - DecJan - MarApr - JunJul - SepJan - MarApr - JunJul - SepOct - Dec Mineralogy Entomology Palaeontology Zoology Botany 2005 2006 2007 Separate sub-projects owing to different requirements and very different legacy systems between departments. For Entomology initial planning started in March 2005. We have gone live in February 2007.

3 Legacy System - Paradox Core system was the Collection Management System written in- house on a Paradox for DOS Database in 1995. In addition many more specimen and/or taxonomic datasets in Access. AdvantagesDisadvantages Simplicity to enter data on one/two screens. Largely non-relational design (unnormalised data). Stable and reliable system running for more than a decade. Data input into free text fields (no constraints through drop downs/lookups or validation). Requires minimal training to use it.Unsupported programming language (PAL). Good departmental user knowledge built up over this time. Limitations as a Collection Management tool, especially tracking material as it moves around the museum - Location is simple text field. Limited tracking of changes to taxonomic names. Relatively few fields to record data.

4 Legacy System - Paradox

5 Legacy System - Datasets Four main kinds of datasets; 1) Accession Register (3,300 records) 2) Specimen level (231,000 records) 3) Collection Index (798,000 records) 4) Taxonomic (55,600 records) All these have different data models. In total 47 datasets were migrated into EMu. The data structures were varied and all had now to fit into the EMu data model.

6 Data Mapping It was a huge task to reconcile the numerous and varied datasets into a single data repository for the first time ever in the department (and eventually the museum). There were a range of data models present between different datasets. These had to be mapped to the EMu model. Probably the most critical stage of the process was data mapping of our existing data model to the EMu model. Numerous EMu records can be generated from a single Paradox CI record and some quite complex logic was necessary to achieve this. In particular for each CI record four taxonomy records could be generated and these all had be correctly created and attached to one another.

7 EMu Records for Collection Index Taxonomy Agabus montanus Collection Index Agabus montanus Catalogue (Index Lot) Agabus montanus Catalogue (Index Lot) Agabus montanus Synonym Locations Dry Collection Taxonomy Ilybius melanorcornis Taxonomy Ilybius montanus Taxonomy Agabus melanocornis Parties Linnaeus Bibliography Systema naturae Locations Spirit Collection Original Combination

8 EMu Catalogue Our main record types in the Catalogue are; 1) Specimen – Specimen Level Datasets 2) Preparation – Specimen level Datasets 3) Acquisition – Accession Register 4) Index Lot - Collection Index Focus on the Index Lot record type and its relationship to another module named the Collection Index.

9 EMu Index Lot & Collection Index A Catalogue Index Lot is the presence of a species (but can be other taxonomic rank) at a particular location in the museum. The species may be present at multiple locations around the museum in different collections, hence have multiple Index Lot records in the Catalogue. Disparate nature of the material. To be able to mange the material more effectively we wanted to view all Index Lot records together. A new module was created for the NHM client to achieve this – the Collection Index module. There is a single Collection Index record for each species. This record brings together all Index Lots for the same species to be viewable and editable in a single view. Also have functionality built into the client to display all Synonyms of that name.

10 EMu Index Lot & Collection Index Taxonomy Agabus montanus Collection Index Agabus montanus Filed as Name Catalogue (Index Lot) Agabus montanus Taxonomy Agabus melanocornis Catalogue (Index Lot) Agabus montanus Catalogue (Index Lot) Agabus melanocornis Synonym Locations Spirit Collection Locations Accessory Collection Locations Main Dry Collection Displays Synonym Lots as well

11 EMu - Collection Index

12 EMu - Index Lot

13 What Now? Now migration complete, considerable work to do. Data clean-up – now data in same depository a whole raft of new issues have now arisen e.g. duplication of records sitting in separate datasets – legacy of non-relational model previously. Training – we have a large body of staff. Core Collection management staff of ca. 30. Up to 30 others to train. The department is now in the process of learning the new system – all core staff have undertaken a two day training course followed up by one-one-one sessions. It will take time for everyone to reach a good level of expertise with the new system. Complex system compared to the old Paradox system. The key to success of EMu is ensuring there is an excellent skill base across the department.

14 Conclusion Has been a challenging process migrating our data into single data depository – it is not an easy process!! However there are considerable advantages to having our data in one place. The process has inevitably thrown up many data clean-up issues that we will be dealing with a long time to come. User training is critical to the success of the project. EMu is substantially more complex than the old system and we need to invest a lot of time and energy bringing everybody in the department to a good standard of competency. We are hopeful that EMu will provide a significantly more effective system to manage our collections at the museum.


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