Update from ADISC -   August 2001

At the August 2000 AZA Board meeting, the Animal Data Information Systems Committee (ADISC) was created to advise the Board regarding the AZA’s animal management information systems needs.

In a study commissioned by ADISC, an outside consultant identified the need for changes in our current database management practices and supporting software (both ISIS and institutional software). Based on ADISC recommendations, the AZA Board of Directors then approved funding to move forward with development of a new system to manage an integrated comprehensive database that would address the needs of all aspects of animal care and management. Below is a summary of ADISC activity over the past few months and future plans.

Data Cleanup Workshop Hosted at Lincoln Park Zoo, June, 2001

In June 2001, Lincoln Park Zoo hosted a workshop with the goal of identifying methods of data cleanup and strategies to migrate data to a new system. Participants in the workshop included AZA staff, ISIS staff, and individuals from eight member institutions. Draft recommendations from the meeting were available in mid July and will be reviewed by ADISC over the next month. When recommendations are finalized they will be shared with the board and institutional members.

Inteq Group, Technology Consultant,  Hired July, 2001

In July 2001, AZA hired the INTEQ GROUP, an information technology project management consulting firm, to develop a Project Plan for the design of an integrated animal information system. The Project Plan will include a Project Charter, Scope Definition, Conceptual Data Model, and a schedule of activities leading to the development of the new information system.

Data Standards Workshops Organized

To gather the information for details of the plan, ADISC and INTEQ will be hosting a series of workshop over the next 3-4 months focusing on specific aspects of animal care and management. Workshops will take place at several AZA institutions and be attended by AZA members representing a wide range of expertise. Information from the workshops will be disseminated to AZA and its international partners.

Workshop topics will include: Health Care Management, Bio-Materials, Species Inventory Management, Enclosure Inventory Management, Collection Management, Shipping, Regulatory Compliance, Environmental Monitoring, Core Data, Husbandry Activities, Contraception, Training and Enrichment, Behavior, Nutrition. Staffing, Quarantine, Research, Population Management, Natural History, Taxonomy Maintenance, Molecular data, and Core Data.

The Project Plan is anticipated to be completed, including the documentation resulting from these workshops, by the end of January 2002. More information regarding the progress of this plan will be forthcoming over AZA listservs, in future issues of Communiqué, and in a presentation at the AZA National Conference (Sunday, 9 September 2001, 4PM).

GADG Holds First Meeting

In a separate initiative supported by ADISC, Brookfield Zoo hosted a meeting on 17-20 June to coordinate the efforts of the global community in developing a more effective animal information system. The meeting was organized by Bob Lacy and attended by 22 people from 22 different institutions, representing 9 associations of zoos and aquaria and 5 other conservation organizations. As of 20 July, the summary report was in final draft form and will be approved by the participants in the near future. This meeting generated consensus on many of the issues that our region has struggled with. Everyone seemed to feel that we have common goals for high quality data and that a comprehensive, global animal data system is essential. There was also agreement to continue the dialog and explore issues such as funding, administration, and operation at the 2001 World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA) meeting. The report from this meeting has been disseminated through the AZA listservs.

For further information, contact any member of the ADISC Steering Committee: Bruce Bohmke (Chair); Andy Odum (Vice Chair); Steve Thompson (Vice Chair); Jeff Boehm, Bob Cook, Sue DuBois, Nilda Ferrer, and Hans Keller.