2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 270-14
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM


BELVEDERE, Matteo and MALLISON, Heinrich, Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Research, Invalidenstr. 43, Berlin, 10249, Germany, matteo.belvedere@mfn-berlin.de

An online data base for ichnological data, including photographs and 3D models, will face different demands on data structure, user interface and usability, depending of the user type accessing it. We discuss various user roles: a scientist providing data (data provider), a scientist wanting to access and download data (data recipient), a scientist wanting to analyse data from within the database (data user), a curator managing the program (data administrator), and a computer specialist managing the software and the storage capacities (IT administrator). The greatest discrepancy exists between data users and data administrators/managers/IT administrators: whereas the former are best served by a host of analytical tools inbuilt into the database, the latter will prefer a simple data and program structure. We make suggestions how the differences between each user of the database can be accommodated, involving a universal, rigid data acquisition standard combined with a matching standardised data output.

To design the database, we began from the premise that it should have a flexible structure to allow modification and changes especially to ichnotaxonomy, according to new studies. This can be achieved through the structure of EasyBD: the main item, constituting the fundamental base for all the information added, is the ID of the single track – either an official museum or field label are accepted. To this object (the ID) a range of data (e.g., 3D model, photos, diagnosis/description, line drawings, measurements) can be directly linked. The ID of the single track is then connected to a series of hierarchical POOLS, based on non-modifiable information (e.g. Trackway, tracksite, locality etc.). Other features of the tracks (e.g., posture, size and preservation), their interpretation (ichnotaxonomy and trackmaker) and geological setting (e.g., group, formation, member/unit, sediment, age, palaeoenvironment and palaeogeography) are added as TAGS. Tags can be hierarchical, can be linked to different pools, and above all, can be modified after the first entry. Competing taxonomy can thus be depicted by parallel sets of trees of tags. The example provided wishes to illustrate common ichnological cases in order to create a solid background for the development and release of the data base.