We have just spent two very productive days with Bank Beszteri at his office in Bremerhaven downtown at the The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.

Main purpose of the visit was to figure out how well EarthCape fits their needs for the collection of diatoms of the Friedrich Hustedt Study Centre for Diatoms – “one of the largest diatom collections in the world. Current database goes back more than 50 years and contains 100K+ records of accessions, microscopic slides and identified specimens (including 2000+ types). After spending good part of the day working with data conversions, network and installation niceties we ended up with a couple of EarthCape import files and several EarthCape windows clients connected to the same database hosted by MySQL server maintained by the institution. At later stage, when it is clear that everything is migrated and database can be used for data entry on daily basis we will come back to adding EarthCape Web App to the mix.

We went through all the work process with data curators and mangers and made sure that the data model of EarthCape is flexible enough to accommodate their data and that users interface is customizable by the users to the extent that should fit their data entry workflow, data search and retrieval requirements and curatorial procedures.

We also had a joint meeting with the IT guys to make sure that here will not be any problems to host the database and an EarthCape Web App.

I do have to admit that on-site visit is the most efficient way to get the new users started – I wish there was more time for those!

And to finish up this short note, some snapshots from inside the herbarium:


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Accessions – that is where it all starts – far off the coast.


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Microsocopic slides, after lots of hard work processing accessions


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And the data. First version of the database.


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The research centre.