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A Comparison of two information management systems

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Issue: 
Spring 2012

Lotz, T., J. Nieschulze, J. Bendix, M. Dobbermann, and B.Konig-Ries. 2012. Diverse or Uniform? – Intercomparison of two major German project databases for interdisciplinary collaborative functional biodiversity research. Ecological Informatics, 8:10-19. DOI:10.1016/j.ecoinf.2011.11.004

This paper compares the data management systems of two ongoing mid-sized collaborative biodiversity research projects. The two projects share general features which also are present in LTER sites, in that they deal with heterogeneous data contributions from diverse and rotating groups of scientists and students, and have a mission to share data among collaborators and curate for long term preservation. Similar functionality in these two systems has evolved despite independent development with entirely different infrastructures. One system is built on ASP/.NET with an XML database, and the other on open source Apache/Tomcat and MySQL with EML export. Both projects plan additional features for advanced querying and data integration using hierarchical vocabularies and/or ontology. The authors summarize the characteristics of data acquisition/upload, metadata management, database infrastructure, and data presentation in several tables which facilitate easy comparison. Most readers - especially LTER information managers - will feel compelled to compare these two systems both to their local site IM systems and to our Network’s.