Computerization of the Arkansas Fishes DatabaseThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Abstract - Until recently, distributional data for the fishes of Arkansas existed in the form of museum records, field notebooks of various ichthyologists, and published fish survey data; none of which was in a digital format. In 1995, a relational database system was used to design a PC platform data entry module for the capture of information on the fishes of Arkansas. The graphical user interface (GUI) consists of four screens for data entry of information on locality, habitat, collection details, and fish species. Values for most of the fields in the data entry screens were standardized to reduce input error and ensure consistency. Look-up tables allow the user to quickly select standardized values (e.g., fish species and family, river and stream systems, county, habitat) for many fields. Comment fields were incorporated to allow the user to record important information on individual specimens that was not amenable to standardization. The database is fully compatible with geographic information systems and each collection in the database is geo-referenced. The computerization of this large database of fishes was initiated as part of a cooperative effort with the USDA Forest Service to digitally capture historic information on fishes of the Ouachita National Forest. The agreement was later expanded to include fish records from the Ozark and St. Francis National Forests. Recently, records of fishes from the entire state were added to the database with funding from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Currently, over 3,500 fish collections have been entered into the Arkansas Fishes Database.