Data Standards for Animal Records Databases
Improving Consistency and Accuracy
The Standards for Data Entry and Maintenance of North American Zoo and Aquarium Animal Records Databases was developed with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 1998. The goal was to improve the quality of central and institutional animal records databases by standardizing data entry.
Standards were established for data entry in the ARKS3 software at a series of workshops with expert record keepers, zoological managers, researchers, scientific advisors and software developers. General guidelines for all species and specific guidelines for mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish and invertebrate species were detailed.
The application of these standards is intended to improve the consistency and accuracy of captive management databases. The standards manual is used at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ professional schools in their course on Institutional Records Keeping.
Steve Thompson, Ph.D.