Arctos is an ongoing effort to integrate access
to specimen data, collection-management tools, and
external resources on the internet.
Nearly all that is known about a specimen can be
included in Arctos, and, except for some data
encumbered for proprietary reasons, data are open to the public.
- Vaporware-free since 2001. All this stuff, and much more, really exists in a usable state, and we'll never claim
proposed or limited funtionality exists.
link images, movies, sound files, and documents to
specimens, taxonomy, publications, projects, events, or people.
Multi-page documents organize, paginate, and print PDFs of scanned media such as field notes.
TAGs comment on specific areas of images, or relate them to nodes such as specimens, places, and people.
Users may annotate specimens, taxonomy, projects, publications, and media.
Virtual Private Databases (VPD), also known as Row-Level Security (RLS), allow collections to maintain
control of their data while sharing certain nodes, such as Agents and Taxonomy. The cool kids call this
Cloud Computing or Grid Computing. It allows us to confidently support most any application, not just
the ones we write.
- Everything is over the web in real time, and
independent of client-side operating systems.
You need moderate bandwidth, a modern browser,
and nothing more.
- Specimen-search screen is user-customizable
to about 100 search terms.
Find specimens by project, publication, usage, taxonomy, spatial attributes, and much more.
Searches can be saved and emailed.
- Customizable table for result sets, summarize
and graph result sets, download (as text, CSV, or XML), map in
- Customizable by individual collection using
headers and footers of their own design, and CSS.
- Any cataloged item can have any number of attributes,
and attributes are customized to collections.
- Reciprocal linkages with external resources
can be formulaic combinations
of terms drawn from a separate taxonomic authority.
- Maintains history of determinations for taxonomic
identifications, georeferencing, and biological attributes.
- Specimen records, specimen parts, attributes,
citations, and much more can be entered or edited individually
or in batches.
using nested-containers model,
bar codes, and container-condition history.
E-mail reminders for loans due,
permit expirations, etc. Intelligent reports detailing possible GenBank matches,
missing citations, unlikely publications, and various other potentially faulty or missing data.
can mask localities, collector names,
or entire records from unprivileged users.
- Design and print labels, reports, transaction documents, etc. with a
- Arctos is a
Arctos may be thought of as a number of overlapping nodes.
Specimens are the core of Arctos. Traditional museum
"label data" live here.
allow collection-specific determinations
of most anything that can be recorded from a specimen, such as sex, weight, age, and various
measurements. Specimen Parts are the physical objects, and are grouped as Cataloged Items, which represent
one or more biological individuals. Cataloged items may be encumbered in order to restrict access to objects or data.
Other Identifiers record any number assigned to a specimen, and may form links to external resources such as GenBank.
Containers hold specimen parts and other containers in a flexible recursive model. Containers may
be barcoded. Some containers hold fluid, and record a history of concentration and monitored dates. All
containers maintain a position and condition history.
Transactions consist of loans, accessions, and borrows, and may be grouped through projects.
Localities record descriptive spatial and coordinate data, along with collecting methods,
habitat, and dates.
Agents are people, groups, or organizations that collect specimens, determine identifications,
attributes, and coordinates, create, authorize, and participate in transactions, author publications,
and act in various other roles.
Publications are attached to specimens by way of citations, and are often created by projects.
Projects create and use specimens, produce publications, group taxonomy into checklists, and record usage of specimens
in the absence of formal citations.
Taxonomy forms the basis for identifications and citations. Taxa may be related to each other
and to any number of common names in any language.
Media attaches digital resources to specimens, people, places, and publications. TAGs graphically
reference images to specimens, places, and people. Documents paginate scanned publications, such as field notes.
Arctos is currently two systems sharing the same code.
One is a
that includes collections
University of Alaska Museum of the North,
University of New Mexico's Museum of Southwestern Biology,
Western New Mexico State University, and
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. A second server at the
Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology hosts
MCZ's Herp collection, with more collections coming soon.
Arctos is rooted in the
Collections Information System at MVZ.
Development efforts are shared,
and programming is freely available.
We attempt to keep the client-side of Arctos applications as generic as possible,
but we have made some exceptions:
the features of such applications.
In order to benefit from all but the most basic public features,
you must enable cookies.
Users may wish to enable pop-ups. Some informational windows use pop-ups. We promise to only "pop up" things you ask for.
Operators must enable pop-ups. Many browsers block this, sometimes cryptically, by default.
- Mozilla Firefox:
All applications have been tested in Firefox. We highly recommend all users upgrade to the latest release
available from Mozilla.
- The Rest:
Most of Arctos should work most of the time in most other browsers.
Let us know if
you have trouble accessing this site in your browser, and we'll fix it if we can.