Standards for zoological databases

Standards for zoological databases were elaborated as a result of ZOOINT project development.

Some main positions, rules and standards for construction of biological databases:

  1. The relational databases model should be used.
  2. According to requirements of databases normalization, information systems should include separate tables on each aspect of the information about animals or plants.
  3. Each information unit should be stored in the specific system only in a single record of a single table. This rule requires the wide usage of dictionaries and classifiers (or thesauri - dictionaries with a hierarchy structure and generic-specific relat ions between concepts).
  4. Classifiers of animals, plants, mushrooms, bacteria and other kingdoms of living organisms should lay in a basis of the system.
  5. The data on geographical distribution of organisms, frequently used by biologists, should be strictly divided into separate aspects (administrative-territorial, physiographic, biogeographic, landscape, natural-zonal, etc.). Terms of each aspect should be fixed in classifiers.
  6. It is impossible to achieve a support for different databases or databanks in one DBMS even in one institute and it is not necessary to aim at this. However, it is important to use professional commercial DBMS with approved import and export mechanisms . As a criterion of DBMS applicability it is proposed to use DBF (dBaseIII) format. DBMS not capable to import or export files from or to this format should not be used.
  7. In order to simplify data exchange between DBMS working under different operating systems, it is necessary to limit the length of filenames with 8, extensions - with 3, and fieldnames of databases - with 10 characters; besides only Latin letters, digit s and underline symbols with no difference between upper and lower case (if a system supports such possibility) should be used. Field length should be less than 255 characters in systems, where character field length is not limited or can be very large.
  8. Nevertheless, if the hierarchy is represented without the use of ZOOCOD standard, it is necessary to aim at some rules simplifying the transition to this standard:

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