The Babase Software Project
The Babase baboon data management system is designed to facilitate the retrieval, storage, and maintenance of the Amboseli Baboon Project data. The Amboseli Baboon Project has been continuously monitoring a wild baboon population in Kenya's Amboseli National Park since 1971.
Babase records the following broad data categories:
- Group membership
- Social status (dominance rank)
- Life events
- Sexual cycle events (including progeny)
- Sexual cycle day-to-day status
- Dyadic social interactions
- Focal animal samples
- Multi-party social interactions
- Weather data
- Darting related data
- Geospatial data on sleeping groves, drinking, and group movement
Other data sets extend Babase, and are used in the Amboseli Baboon Project's research, but are not yet incorporated into Babase. These are either already designed but not yet implemented or in the design process:
- Genetic data
- Endocrine data
- Predation data
- Wounds and pathologies data
- Several others
The Babase documentation is extensive.
Babase incorporates extensive automatic data validation directly into the database. Complex analysis and storage of the derived values is also built-in, and is, for the most part, automatic. Additionally there are extensions built into the database that provide alternative means of accessing and manipulating its sometimes complex and rather abstract database structures; alternatives based on a more user-friendly, familiar, data structure. The implementation details of all these features are, for the most part, transparent to the user. The end-user free to use the software of their choice when interacting with the database and free to work with the data structures that embody the conceptual model best suited to the task at hand.
Babase is designed for access via the Internet, primarily via the web. Although there are exceptions the majority of Babase is accessed using a W3C compliant web browser. It is built upon the PostgreSQL database and PHP. Babase is designed around open standards and expected to be used in conjunction with generic PostgreSQL front-ends, like phpPgAdmin, and other Open Source and Free Software. It relies on this software for the bulk of its user interface.
The Babase source code itself is Free Software and may be downloaded by the public. We run the Babase database server on Linux; it will probably run on OS/X or even Microsoft Windows but we've not tried this. There is a version of Babase in beta-testing which runs in a virtual machine on OS/X and MS Windows, for when Internet connectivity is not available.
The project's users have their own home page from which they work with the project's data.