Proposed Database

Enhancing Access to and Use of Richter's Data

Proposed Database

by Frank R. Hubbard, Ph.D.


The Richter data contains approximately 20,000 activity charts, 20,000 Esterline Angus charts, and 800 logbooks. These records cover the years 1925 to 1975. The sheer number of records makes it necessary to organize them into a relational database. Such a database should consist of tables of related data, data which contains an index reference in common with at least one other table. The image files, such as those included as samples in this poster session, are high resolution scanned digital images. Each such image is stored in a file which is linked to the relational database. Therefore, the database serves as a way to select image and data files.

Digital scans should be made of each Easterline Angus and activity chart, of the log books, and of the rat registers and "Peg's books." All data from logbooks should be triple-keyed (to insure accuracy) into ASCII comma-delimited files to facilitate downloading. The logbook pages should also be scanned in order to preserve the hand-written marginal notes. Although the activity charts were derived from the logbook data, the activity charts should be preserved in digital form because they also contain marginal notes interpreting the experimental results. The Easterline Angus charts would only exist in scanned image form, not in digital data form for downloading. The majority of information in the rat and Peg's books would be included in the database, because they are lists which the relational database uses to relate animals to the experiments in which they participated. These records should also exist as scanned images, because they are copiously annoted with handwritten notes by Richter and others.

See Intellectual description of the data for a description of the record types referred to above.

General Organization

The Richter database has been organized in a manner that is structured around the materials available. The database consists of at least nine separate, related tables. The main data tables are those for animals (tblAnimal) and for experiments (tblExperimentCats). These two are tied together by an Experiment Category Id. The Experiment Category is as specified in the Alphabetical Index to the "Peg's Books." The monthly tables, both the data and the pictures of the pages, are related to the animals by the id numbers of the cages which they occupied. The Easterline Angus and the activity charts are related to the animals by the animal id numbers.

Both of these tables contain searchable data on the date range covered by the chart. With these basic tables and relationships, the user can search the data in various ways. The data can be searched by experiment type, starting with a scrolling list made from tblExperimentCats, which then leads thru tblAnimal to either of the three data forms: tblActivityCharts, tblEasterlineAngus, or tblMonthlyTables. If the objective is to find data referenced in a publication, then tblAnimal can be searched by animal and/or cage number-year to find the EA charts, the Monthly log book data, or the activity charts made from the log book data.

Flowchart of the database structure

Example of how to use the database

Data Samples

Enhancing Access to and Use of Richter's Data

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