Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
Weblog about cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore.
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Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Sun 07 May 2006

Herpnet-ing the Raffles Museum's specimen database

Category : museum

When I was last in UC Berkeley in Sept 2005, I chatted with the HerpNet people there about the state of the Raffles Museum's herptile specimen database. I had tried to get that database up and running over the years without funding. Though tiresome, it was in a pretty decent shape, and researchers overseas are able to reference the work. The database had been constructed with the help of students assistants when I could find the money and time to scrutinise the work, a museum taxonomist who did verification and an SQL volunteer who got it up on the net.

The visit was part of a whirlwind trip and we were in Berkeley just for the day - enought time to see macs, dinosaurs and biologists so it was all familiar terrritory. The HerpNet coordinator and I talked about linking the Raffles Museum database into the existing nework - I had actually been wondering about that but had hesistated over some issues. The face to face meeting sorted out all my questions in minutes and I remember being excited about finding kindred souls.

So when we reached Chicago (11 Sep 2005), I emailed the HerpNet coordinator some of the data sets to illustrate the format and fields andd she got to work on the grant application. Coincidentally, in Washington a few days later, I met the volunteer SQL manager and she spent the morning with us on our guided tour of the Smithsonian!

In November 2005, the HeprNet coordinator and I exchanged a flurry of emails and in January 2006, I received the annoucement that the grant application by UCB and partners (several of us in non-US countries) had been successful.

Now I'm off to Berkeley next Saturday for a week-long workshop on geo-referencing. They love macs there so it'll be fun. Since they also use PCs I might clean out my hardisk, and try installing Parallels. I hope its not so geeky that its over my head, but they reassured me it'll be simple enough.

This time there might even be time to see the seti@home server and meet a friend who was out of town durng my last visit.

And I should return hours before the opening of the Dinosaurs exhibition to blog about that if I am awake enough.

And then I'll have the database updated and the server installed later this year.

Posted at 5:17PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .