Database Admin/Informatics
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Systems Office at the Yale Peabody Museum

The Computer Systems Office oversees the Yale Peabody Museum’s information technology infrastructure and collections computing initiatives in the curatorial divisions and, in conjunction with the Publications Office, administers the Museum’s scholarly publication program and websites.

One of the principal responsibilities of the Systems Office is the Museum’s collections management system, which is shared by all divisions. We recently (summer 2005) migrated 2.1 million database records and affiliated multimedia files from our legacy systems into KE EMu, and are rapidly expanding our digitization activities in all curatorial Divisions using this comprehensive collections management resource.

The Yale Peabody Museum began databasing its collections in earnest during the early 1990s. In the following decade, the focus was on large-scale data entry for all ledgers in the curatorial divisions. Attention is now shifting to adding images of specimens and labels to existing records, linking affiliated documentation, and georeferencing collecting localities. The Computer Systems Office and Informatics Office collaborate on a variety of projects toward the overall goal of digitizing the collections holdings.

Other computing initiatives in which the Systems Office participates include:

  • PaleoPortal, an online resource for paleontological research and discovery based at the University of California, Berkeley; and
  • the Connecticut Butterfly Atlas Project, which is building a georereferenced database of Connecticut's butterfly fauna.


Informatics at the Yale Peabody Museum

The Yale Peabody Museum’s Informatics Program, established during 2003, emphasizes adding value to museum collections by specimen digitization, automating georeferencing, and networked access to collection data. Informatics leverages rapidly changing technology for the benefit of the Museum and the broader scientific community. The Informatics Office and Computer Systems Office collaborate on a variety of projects toward the overall goal of digitizing the collections holdings.

Among the current Informatics initiatives are:

  • BioGeoMancer, an automated web-based georeferencing service for natural history collections; and
  • HERBIS (HERBarium Information System), which addresses herbarium specimen data capture methods and efficiencies, using high resolution digital imaging, web services for optical character recognition, natural handwriting recognizition and language processing;
  • ORNIS (ORNithological Information System), an initiative based at the University of Kansas to make georeferenced collection data available from 35 participating institutions through a distributed network of databases.

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