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WInvertebrates Database & Web Site Structure

The WInvertebrates web site is a collection of static pages derived from a database developed in FileMaker Pro. Rather than a dynamic web site powered by a server-side database, the individual pages of this web site are assembled from the tables of the database using a custom Perl script and then uploaded to the server. The database and conversion script are developed by Daniel L. Graf, and the site is served by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. This site is constantly updated and revised, and the information presented below is subject to change with further development.

WInvertebrates Database Structure

The primary table of the WInvertebrates Database is the Taxa table. Each taxon is assigned a unique key, and the table has fields to record the taxon name, rank, distribution, and habitat. Each taxon is linked recursively to either the parent taxon in which it is classified or the valid taxon with which it is synonymous. The relationships of the other tables to Taxa are shown in the ERD (entity relationship diagram).

For each taxon, zero-to-many web sources are stored in the URLs table. Each URL and site name is linked to a taxon by a foreign key to the Taxon table. If Internet images are available on a particular web site, these are stored in the Images table and linked to URLs by a foreign key to the latter.

Zero-to-many published references to taxa are stored in the Literature References table. That table serves as an associative entity linking the Taxa and Publications tables. The Publications table serves as the bibliography of the WInvertebrates Database, with fields to record the necessary citation data as well as a URL if the publication is available online. The Literature References table records taxon usage, locality information, and associated page numbers.

Additional content associated with species pages are managed by the Content table. The content itself is simply coded as a snippet of HTML and then inserted into the page when it is constructed.

Finally, information about student-written content pages is stored in the Student Essays table. Each essay is link to the lowest-level taxon applicable by a foreign key to the Taxa table. The student essay itself is stored in a separate text file, but the table has fields for the author, course, and term information.

WInvertebrates Web Site Structure

The WInvertebrates Web Site has three types of pages: summary pages, taxon pages, and content pages. All pages use the sample html template. The summary pages are those listed in the left-hand margin of each page reflecting the principle higher taxa around which BIOL/WATER 361/351 Aquatic Invertebrate Zoology are organized at UWSP. For each taxon with a summary page, important information such as images, literature references, URLs, and the classification are aggregated from the database as a starting point to browse the database. The summary pages include links to the taxon pages of North American and/or freshwater subtaxa.

A taxon page is made for each valid taxon in the Taxa table of the WInvertebrates Database (except for those terminal taxa for which there is no associated data). These pages can be browsed to determine the data currently associated with a particular taxon. The content of both taxon and summary pages is derived solely from the database.

Content pages are individual pages coded manually in html to serve specific purposes. This page is an example of a content page, as are the individual student essay pages.

2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium

On 2 May 2014, UWSP student Richard Mahoney presented a poster at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Letters and Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium about his work with the WInvertebrates project. While many students have contributed essays to the project, Richard was the first student to capture data directly into the WInvertebrates Database that are the basis for this web site.

Click here to download a hi-res copy of Richard Mahoney’s poster about the WInvertebrates Database and Web Site.


Site managed by Daniel L. Graf @ University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point