Bibliography project

Boyce Tankersley
Mon, 27 Oct 2003 06:25:51 PST
Hi Jane and all:

What software application the database uses is less important than it being a relational database. 

For ease of data entry and retrieval it should be relatively straight forward to use at the user interface (front end). This does not mean the backend tables have to be flat files (non-relational). Basically a table containing bibliographic references with more than one field to hold key codes to link it to a second table containing plant names is all that is needed. 

In the bibliographic references I encourage a simple Yes/No field to identify if this literature citation represents the first time a scientific name was published.

The plant names table could be a single table with fields for taxonomic fields.

Alternatively, the plant name table could be relatively elegant with a link to a plant family:///genus/ index table to autofill the plant family name when the genus name is selected (many to one relationship in order to support more than one plant family (when will the plant family relationships/names settle down?)). A second table would be linked in a similar way to hold recognized synonyms. In this way regardless of what a 'user' typed into a query, they would also find references citing an 'old' plant family name or an 'old' synonym. Important when dealing with literature that spans over a hundred years of scientific thought and revisions. A third table could cross-reference common names (a quagmire) but important for many people attempting to find information.

Which field is chosen to be required depends upon what level of 'data mining' is anticipated. Based upon a quick review of some of the literature, I would recommend the genus name field.

It all depends on how much time anyone wants to invest in creating the database.

The important aspect is that regardless of whether the elegant or straightforward approach is taken only one of the fields needs to be 'required'. For instance, the CBG database could not support this sort of data collection and cross-referencing because it is designed to require both genus and species and currently the bibliographic reference is handled by a single text field (I am in the process of creating a bibliographic table to standardize the way we cite literature references and to enable more than one literature citations per plant name. GRRR, much more touchy to retro program a database instead of creating from scratch).

Boyce Tankersley

-----Original Message-----
From: J.E. Shields []
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 8:23 AM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] Bibliography project

Jane and all,

If I still have my old copy of Filemaker Pro 3, I'll put something together 
this weekend.  I have an  Access lit ref DB that I made years ago; I'll see 
what it looks like.  Should export to Filemaker easily.

Jim Shields

At 06:16 PM 10/24/2003 -0700, you wrote:
>Jim Shields and Robert Pries wrote,
>>I agree with Bob entirely on the subject of database vs. text 
>>document.  Searching, sorting, cross referencing to genera and even 
>>species, that all cries out for a relational database -- or a spreadsheet 
>>with multiple tables.
>>Jim Shields
>>>Although it sounds like a good idea, it could be very unwieldy without 
>>>creating some sort of database. I have a list of references for the Iris 
>>>encyclopedia I am working on that is over a thousand entries and that is 
>>>but one genus. The other problem is Floras and such are going to contain 
>>>many Genera. Would you create a huge list of Genera and species 
>>>mentioned? It seems one would have to create some sort of guidlines.
>If Jim, Robert, and other people can design a database that I can use 
>quickly and efficiently (and I don't find Microsoft databases to be usable 
>in a quick, efficient manner!), and if it can present the information in a 
>way that fairly naive users can use intuitively and easily, then I'll do 
>it that way. Please think about the design and make some proposals.
>Jane McGary
>pbs mailing list

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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