A Virtual Museum on the State's Fish Biodiversity

Verbatim Data

Upon receipt from donors, data were compiled into a single Microsoft Excel file before importation into our database. Especially when we initially attempted to combine the donors’ data into a single database, the long, independent histories of these collections, general lack of use of relational database structures, and lack of attention to data standardization were apparent in their highly variable data structures, and inconsistent and redundant, independent data entry (i.e. apparent uncontrolled, free-form data entry with lack of use of pick lists or other mechanisms to assure compliance with data definitions and normalization standards). Many of those original donor fields required concatenation or parsing to conform to our data schema and are thus now presented in our database as “verbatim donor data” to the extent that we have verified that the data reflect the informational content of the original donor’s output, if not actually being exactly verbatim (in structure/format, etc.) from the donor. All donor-provided fields are included in our database except in rare cases when they were determined to be inappropriate, redundant or otherwise unnecessary.

We carefully isolate all original data received from the donors into separate database fields whose informational content was never edited, and now, in this website display that “verbatim donor data” alongside the edited version so it’s easy for users to see the products of our data editing.