Michael Todd wrote:
> 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.
Good points Michael, but I beg to differ on a few points as well. My
comments are fairly specific to the product I use, BirdInfo (DOS
version) from Simon Bennett, but I am a heavy user of relational and
other database software in UNIX and Windows environments in my day to
day work (Access, dBase, CardBox, TExpress).
* If one is a super-user, one can get quite powerful databases
running, with lots of macros & forms to perform various
analytical/reporting functions and so on. Otherwise, it could be rather
basic (but that's OK depending on what is required).
* "Minimum data sets" and other standards tend to go by the
wayside with lots of individually customised databases running around
the countryside. This becomes particularly problematic when submitting
or sharing data electronically (to atlas projects, etc.).
* The commercial birdbase I use, BirdInfo, has quite sophisticated
geographic, taxonomic and survey manipulation modules which would take
me months to try and reproduce the functionality of with Access et al.
Plus, it's already in a reasonably compatible format for my state atlas
* I would like extra note fields in BirdInfo, but I
cross-reference all records to my notebooks, so though there are
definitely limitations, it serves my purpose quite adequately anyhow.
> 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.
BirdInfo exports in dBase (*.dbf) format as well as various delimited
text files, so I've had no trouble getting data into Word, Excel,
Access, CardBox, 1-2-3, and so on when necessary.
So there's my two-bob's worth!
* Customisable database managers (Access, dBase, etc.) are readily
available and will do the job if you have the time and know-how to
develop the databases. Various bird lists are available online or from
other birders, to import into any database you might design.
* If you just need a list, consider using a spreadsheet such as
Excel, QuattroPro, Lotus 1-2-3, etc. They can function as databases of
a kind, and are very easy to use.
* Commercial birdbase programs are ready to run when installed,
have solved quite a few of the data manipulation headaches for you, have
lists already installed, are compatible with various institutional and
commercial software/databases, but have limitations in that they are not
readily altered from the vendor's settings.
Use the one you know/like best; that's what all of us opinionated users
are basically advocating!
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