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ZIMS for Studbooks

ZIMS for Studbook is our third major product release, joining animal husbandry and medical modules. The solution will be a global, integrated, real-time studbook database that will connect institutional and studbook records, making studbooks more robust and up-to-date, making the studbook keeper’s job easier, and improving species management. This new solution will replace studbook software solutions including SPARKS and PopLink.

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Is there a cost associated with ZIMS for Studbooks?

Because developing, enhancing and supporting Studbook requires a significant investment of time and effort to build, enhance, and support, all users are asked to provide financial support. The cost is included in our members’ current membership fees. Non-members will have an annual $1000 fee, per studbook, associated with maintaining their studbooks in ZIMS. We are in active communication with the 14 institutions currently impacted by this fee. This cost is intended to share the responsibility of this software product across all the users to ensure sustainability.

What does training look like for ZIMS for Studbooks?

We are developing comprehensive training. Training will be tailored to each regional association’s needs. We will share our strategies as we collaboratively develop our plans for deployment and training. We may also conduct web-based training sessions, provide resources to all studbook keepers, and develop opportunities for in-person trainings at conferences or through regional associations.

We are also beginning to explore online solutions (which currently exist in other areas of ZIMS) that will walk the user through various tasks, especially the more complex ones. These online help solutions will be rolled out with ZIMS for Studbooks and continually enhanced thereafter.

When can I begin maintaining my studbook in ZIMS for Studbooks?

ZIMS for Studbooks is tentatively scheduled for release at beginning of 2017. The team is currently working with the regional associations, who will determine the order in which studbooks will be migrated and become active in ZIMS. Prioritization may differ between regions. The deployment process could take many months, depending on the prioritization and pace determined by each regional association.

We will work with each individual Studbook Keeper to migrate their studbook data into ZIMS from their current software prior to them becoming active. We provide time and resources to make sure data is properly transferred into ZIMS.

Can I add animals to my studbook in ZIMS that are not held by Species360 member institutions?

Yes. The method of adding these animals will be similar to the entry system you currently use to add animals to your studbook. However, we are working on ways to improve and expedite this process to minimize the time used in manual data entry. How will data be shared? Who gets to see my studbook information?

We are working in partnership with the studbook-authorizing regional associations to build access and role control features for studbook data. These tools and policies will continue to develop as we move forward.

Will Studbook Keepers have access to all institutional data?

Our default assumption is that Studbook Keepers will have access to the same kinds of institutional data as in the past (taxon and specimen reports). Studbooks will be restricted to displaying and viewing the taxon designated within the studbook they are assigned.

What if the information I want displayed in my studbook differs from regional studbook or institutional data on certain animals?

Just as in current studbook software, the data within a studbook may differ from institutional data for many reasons (data conventions, more recent data, etc.). Studbook Keepers will be able to accept, edit, and reject information coming from the institutions holding their species.

However, ZIMS for Studbooks will provide multiple tools and data quality features to compare regional studbooks to one another as well as institutional data to studbooks. These tools will allow studbooks to provide the best data available for management of the populations.

How will the role of a Studbook Keeper change?

Good news: Studbook Keepers will spend significantly less time entering data! Information from institutional records will be entered automatically. Data entry will remain the same for non-ZIMS institutions, though we are working on ways to improve and expedite this process.

Studbook Keepers will have additional time to focus on managing their populations using the data quality, management tools, and reports that will be provided.

Who is assisting in testing and development?

We are working with a wide range of experts in animal management to ensure the best possible product. These include representatives from regional associations (EAZA, AZA, ZAA, and WAZA), WAZA Committee for Population Management, CBSG, population biologists, and a group of 20-30 regional and international studbook keepers.

We are also using a much more iterative development process than in the past, demonstrating working software well in advance of the release to ensure that we are building the best solution. These demos will eventually evolve into beta or early-adopter releases to ensure that the solution meets the community’s needs.

What regional associations are Species360 working with for the rollout of ZIMS for Studbooks?

Initially, we have and will continue to work directly with EAZA, AZA, and ZAA for input on the development, review, and testing of the ZIMS for Studbooks.  We also work with them to coordinate communications, studbook migrations, and integrated training for this software.  We will begin to engage more of our other regional association partners sometime around mid-2017.

Species360 also worked with WAZA and their international studbooks until WAZA’s recent staff transitions.  Currently, we plan to work with studbook keepers and program leaders for WAZA studbooks that are held by EAZA, AZA, and ZAA.  We reengage working with WAZA staff members and for WAZA studbooks held outside of ZAA, EAZA, AZA after WAZA completes it staffing transitions.

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