Publicaciones

Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 3, 2016


Proceso de documentación e informatización de la colección de Petrología del Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona


Documentation process and computerization of Petrology collection of the Natural History Museum in Barcelona

Yael Díaz Acha e Iria Díaz Ontiveros

Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 3: 77-91, 2016

Resumen

La Gestión de la documentación, la informatización y el almacenamiento de una colección es la clave para aumentar su valor e interés para que sea aprovechada académica, museística y/o científicamente. Con este objetivo, el departamento científico de Petrología del Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona (MCNB) ha estandarizado tanto el proceso de documentación como el de digitalización de los datos. El proceso de documentación actual es el resultado de un trabajo metódico y laborioso consistente en nueve etapas, desde su inscripción en el libro de registro hasta su ubicación en su lugar de almacenamiento definitivo. Este proceso genera mucha información y para manejarla se ha formando una amplia estructura y definido campos contrastando bibliografía referenciada. Para operar con todos ellos se han testado y valorado dos software de gestión de datos (MuseumPlus® y FileMaker Pro®). La Generalitat de Catalunya estableció el MuseumPlus® como programa de gestión de colecciones para el territorio catalán, y el MCNB asesoró en la adecuación del programa para la documentación de registros de ciencias naturales. El MuseumPlus® es el gestor en el que, a día de hoy, tenemos ficha informatizada de todos los ejemplares existentes en la colección y con el que hemos elaborado una Guía de Documentación de Petrología, donde se detalla cada campo y como trabajar con ellos. Por otro lado con FileMaker Pro® hemos obtenido el prototipo de lo que queremos que sea, próximamente, la base de datos definitiva de la colección. En resumen, este trabajo nos ha permitido conseguir el objetivo de aumentar el valor documental y científico de la colección al pasar de datos en papel, limitados a pocos campos, a una base de datos compleja informatizada pero manejable.

Palabras clave: documentación, base de datos, petrología, MuseumPlus®, File- Maker Pro®

Abstract

The management of the documentation and the collection storage is the key to increasing its value and interest to be exploited academically, museologically and/or scientifically. With this goal, the Petrology Department of the Natural History Museum of Barcelona (MCNB) has standardized the process of documentation as well as the data computerization. The current documentation process, which is the result of a methodical and laborious work, consists in eight stages (figure 1) which generate a lot of information: 1. Do the inscription in the register book; 2. Do the tuning-up of the sample; 3. Mark the labelling with the Davison et al. (2006) method; 4. Document the non-geological parameters; 5. Perform the Petrological study: this is one of the most important stages and requires more time; 6. Computerize the data; 7. Label the sample; 8. Set sample and documents up properly; 9. Place the sample in its final location. For a useful and modern collection the improvement, extension and computerization of all samples data is needed. The computerized data are those generated from the sample income to its final location, plus its history information, the actions made in the specimen, studies and other content. In order to handle all this information we have proceeded to define fields contrasting referenced literature, and we have generated a wide field structure (table I). To operate all this data we have worked with one spreadsheet application and we have tested and have assessed two relational database software. Regarding the different tested programs we have concluded that: Microsoft Excel® table is functional as an alternative table working fast with data, but it isn’t functional as a final storage of work data (figure 2). MuseumPlus® is the Catalan collections management official program and we have advised to adapt it to Petrological record inputs. The program is quite slow but reliable. Nowadays it is the software in which all MCNB petrologic samples have a file and which we have developed the Documentation Guide for the Petrologic Collection, where is detailed each field and how to work with it (figure 3). We consider FileMaker Pro® best than MuseumPlus® to manage natural science collections. Our department expect, soon, using it as our final data collection database manager and, for this reason, we have worked on creating our prototype collection database (figure 4). When the database is finished, we will develop the documentation guide for this program. The Documentation Guide for the Petrologic Collection contains descriptions of about 60 parameters, which are the result of the documentation and computerization process, and includes its associated list or thesaurus. The lists and thesaurus are created from data agreed within MCNB, in the case of internal parameters, or literature and authoritative sources for global parameters. Parameters are separated in four categories: Main information fields: The main fields are the registration number of entry, the registration collection number, determination (thesaurus), dating (thesaurus), location (thesaurus), internal position (thesaurus) and number of elements. Historical information fields: Consist of the income data, filed collection data and information about the source collection. Secondary information fields: Include coordinates, weight and dimensions, other numbers and conservation data. Petrological information fields (table II to table VI): It corresponds to the more specialized fields like analytical description (text); essential, accessory and secondary minerals (text); fossils (open list), grain shape (closed list), grain size (closed list), texture (closed list), microstructure (closed list), porosity (closed list), origin (closed list), present processes (text) and status of sample (closed list). Finally, it is necessary to mention that a database, however worked and standardized it was, is modified and considerably extended with the daily work of curators, assistant curators, editors and consultants. Therefore, regardless of the software that we want to work, it is very important to do a regular review and polish of the database if we want to achieve the goal of having a reliable and accurate data for its consultation, at every level.

Keywords: documentation, database, petrology, MuseumPlus®, FileMaker Pro®





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(c) Real Sociedad Española de Historia Natural. Facultades de Biología y Geología. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 28040-Madrid - e-mail: rsehno@bio.ucm.es