"Conole, Lawrie" <>
Michael Todd <>
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 18:33:28 +1100
A lot of birdos are putting their records on to computer these days and
I think that its a great thing- as mentioned by a couple of bird-aussers
over the last few days. However, nearly everyone seems to use commercial
birding programs for this.
I thought that I might mention to people that it is possible to use
ordinary relational databases to do the same thing. Filemaker Pro, Dbase
and Microsoft Access (the oneI use) are all more than capable of storing
bird records. In fact databases like these have a huge advantage over
commercial bird record storage programs in that they can be used to
store other info if you need to, and any bird recording database you
create is fully customisable and adjustable to the way that you want to
use it. If you are particularly interested in a particular aspect of
bird behaviour you can build it in to your database. You can then remove
it later on if you change your mind. You don't have to be locked into
particular categories and sizes of field which I found to be a problem
when I used a commercial birdwatching program. Its also very easy to get
your information out again if you decide you want to use a different
program or whatever- you have complete control over your own data.
I'm now using Access databases for storing fauna distribution records
for the Lake Macquarie City Council. The only catch of course is that
you have to learn how to construct your own database- something which
isn't as hard as it sounds. I don't consider myself to be any sort of
computer wizard. The big databases like Access are stacked with wizards
and the necessary tools to make your own database construction possible
without needing any programming knowledge like Visual Basic etc.
If you have access to a relational database and the inclination I
thoroughly recommend you give it a go. Feel free to contact me if you
have any questions.
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Newcastle,
Callaghan, N.S.W., 2308
The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering
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