Update on recent ZIMS, EADISC and IADISC activities

By Frands Carlsen & Duncan Bolton, Co-chairs EADISC

ZIMS Software developer selected

We are extremely happy and proud to announce that the ZIMS project has reached a major milestone: the selection of the Canadian based company CGI as software developer for the project. CGI, founded in 1976, is a Global Information Technology and Business Process Services firm, with over 25,000 professionals and 3500+ clients worldwide. CGI has offices in 60 countries including UK, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium.

It would not have been possible to achieve this very important stage without the help and support from a wide range of the global stakeholders. We would like to thank everyone in EAZA that have been involved so far for their considerable time and effort.

Twenty developers initially entered into the Request for Proposal (RFP) process and of these,   twelve were determined to be qualified for the ZIMS Project.  These companies submitted their responses and after extensive review by the ZIMS Evaluation Team, with participation from both EADISC Chairs, five were invited to a selection conference in Washington D.C. in December 2003 to give presentations to the Evaluation Team. The Team then, in a unanimous decision, selected the two most suitable finalists.

The ISIS ZIMS Project Steering Group (PSG) then selected a Contract Negotiation Team assembled for their expertise and experience in contract negotiations for outsourced software projects.  After extensive negotiations and review, CGI was chosen and approved as the best company to develop ZIMS.


EADISC mid-year meeting

The EADISC mid-year meeting was hosted by the EAZA Executive Office in Amsterdam on 7th March 2004. Apart from discussing actions for the next half year the meeting had a special focus on the data quality issues related to the regional preparation for ZIMS.



All in all the European region has showed a good improvement in data quality but there is still a long way to go before we can truly say that our ISIS data are ready for migration into ZIMS. The data migration is essential for a successful deployment of the new system. According to the timeline set for the project this is only 20 months away – so please keep up the good work!


Other meetings

A ZIMS Data Standards workshop was hosted by Lisbon Oceanarium on 29-31st March. The purpose and objectives of this workshop were to work on the functional requirements, workflows and data standards pertaining to environmental monitoring, group management and enclosures. Joao Correia from Lisbon Oceanarium and David Gibson from The Deep participated in the workshop and gave valuable input from a European perspective.

Dr. Sandra Silinski from Zoo Salzburg, in her capacity as a veterinary member of EADISC, participated in the first ZIMS veterinary data standards workshop hosted by the Zoological Society of San Diego on 16-18th April 2004. The purpose of this workshop was to provide a ZIMS overview and project status update along with introducing the standards development and overall application processes. There was great excitement about ZIMS project and understanding of the importance of getting personally involved in drafting proposals for data standards. Information about ZIMS will be distributed through the regional zoo and wildlife veterinarian organisations using the organisations' homepages, newsletters and conferences. Also, a new ZIMS Veterinary Listserve will be a powerfull tool for sharing information as well as the data standards development process. This listserve is moderated by Ilse Stalis and Tracy Clippinger both from San Diego Zoo and account issues are dealt by Nell Bekiares from ISIS (nell@isis.org). Please contact Nell for more information.

The two workshops above are the starting signal for a long list of specialist workshops in the coming year that are needed to develop ZIMS (see below).

The EADISC Chairs participated in the IADISC mid-year meeting hosted by Disney Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, 11-14 May 2004. The International ADISC worked hard to identify additional subject matter experts for future workshop participation and to fill out vacant positions on data standards work, quality control, training and change control. The latter part of the meeting was attended by two members of the CGI ZIMS project team. The focus of this meeting was mainly on creating an understanding of expectations from both parties, settle unclarified issues and agree on dates and venues for future workshops on Joint Application Design (JAD) and Data Standards development. Two JAD sessions have already been scheduled for 19-22 July in Minneapolis, USA and 9-12 August in Sydney, Australia. Three more session are scheduled for September in Toronto, Canada, October in Bristol, UK and November in Orlando, USA. The final dates for these meetings are still to be decided. All meetings need input from European Subject Matter Experts and we will soon begin the process of head-hunting EAZA SMEs for all meetings (refer to positions vacancies).

More on People

In order to promote the European Data Quality process Ross Snipp from the ISIS Office is now also working specifically on European data quality 10-15 hours a week, contacting institutions needing assistance in this area and helping them. We sincerely hope that this proactive effort will help to improve the European data even more in the near future. If you have questions regarding your data please feel free to contact Ross directly on ross@isis.org. You can also seek assistance and more information through the European Animal Records Keepers Group (EARKG) listserve. For inclusion please contact Rob Belterman from Rotterdam Zoo on r.belterman@rotterdamzoo.nl.

To improve the regional communication on the ZIMS project Ulrike Rademacher from Zoo Wilhelma now acts actively as Regional ZIMS Communication Facilitator. Ulrike will work directly with the ZIMS Communication Manager to keep key stakeholders in the European region informed about ZIMS developments, increase awareness about the ZIMS project, and distribute news releases and other communiqués to the regional stakeholders.

Last but not least we a happy to announce that Britta Scholz from Givskud Zoo, Denmark has been invited for a position in the ZIMS Technology Working Group (ZTWG). ZTWG will work closely with CGI on technical questions, to validate technical design, create a user friendly interface, identify technical advisors as list server moderators, review reporting requirements and technical verification of project deliverables.

 Ad in the ‘positions’ pages of the newsletter for SME’s: Vacancy – Subject Matter Experts (that means all of you reading this newsletter) needed for European Animal Data Information Systems Committee – Working Group. This is the forum for you all to make sure that the new records system provides what you need.  ZIMS is coming, help us to ensure that it will meet our needs into the future.  Contact Frands Carlsen, Copenhagen Zoo or Duncan Bolton, Bristol Zoo for details.