ADISC Update - April, 2002

In our last ADISC update we talked about the series of workshops that were held on a wide range of topics to define the scope of zoo and aquarium animal data needs.  At the end of January the Inteq Group, a technology consulting firm, delivered the documents that resulted from these meetings: the project Mission and Charter, a conceptual data model and supporting work processes, a technology assessment, and a project plan. The Charter outlines the overall scope of a future animal information system that for the purposes of identification during the project was nicknamed ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System).  These deliverables define and documente the scope of business data needs at a very high, broad level.

In February, ADISC members, Sue DuBois and Bob Lacy, ADISC Finance and Governance Group members, John Lewis and Jerry Borin, and AZA staff, Brandie Smith and Kris Vehrs, attended the Global Animal Data Group (GADG) meeting in Costa Rica.  Recognizing the need for greater international participation in the development of what will be a global system, GADG participants recommended the formation of an international committee to focus on moving forward with the ZIMS project. This new group, called IADISC (International Animal Data Information Systems Committee), will consist of representatives from each of the Regional Zoo & Aquarium Associations. IADISC will provide a forum for communicating project activities among regional associations and will insure that any new database that is developed will be truly international in scope.

In March, the AZA Board of Directors approved the ADISC’s request for funding to move forward with the next six-month phase of the ZIMS Project. Funds for the project will come from AZA’s operating reserves. The next phase includes the development of an RFP with the assistance of the Inteq Group and the assignment of a project manager to coordinate the increase in project activities. Sue DuBois, Walt Disney World, will assume the role of project manager for the next six months. 

The next steps that will occur over the next six months include refining the conceptual data model and work processes for the specific development of both the inventory and medical modules and creating an RFP (Request for Proposals) to solicit bids for development.  The RFP will provide vendors with documented detail about the business needs and the scope of the inventory and medical modules. Several more workshops with subject matter experts will be held to delineate data and process needs within those specific boundaries.

There were many people who did a lot of work in support of this effort during the last phase of the project including workshop participants, ADISC members, and AZA staff who deserve thanks. We would also like to thank the National Aquarium in Baltimore and Hans Keller, Director of IS at NAIB, for providing much of the project management support during Phase I, and Walt Disney World for its support for project management in the next phase. Please look for more information on the ZIMS Project and IADISC activities in future issues of the Communiqué. For more information about IADISC and the project, please contact committee chair, Bruce Bohmke,, or project manager, Sue DuBois,