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Species File Software:  A foundation for taxonomic database development

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About Species File Software
Application design
User interface
SFS versions
Creating a new species file

Current SFS-based databases

The Orthopterists' Society role

Welcome . . .

to the Species File Software (SFS) website.  SFS is a collection of programs that provides access to and manipulation of taxonomic information stored in multiple databases.  SFS also defines a standardized user interface to facilitate interactions with the database.

The purpose of this website is multifaceted:  It contains descriptions of the SFS components, a history of SFS development, a summary of current databases, and information about how to use SFS as the basis of a new taxonomic database, to name a few.

David Eades is the principal developer of SFS under the auspices of the Illinois Natural History Survey.  Please send comments and questions about the software and its development to David Eades (send mail).

What is a species file?

It is both a database and a website:  The database provides the detailed information about all taxa contained within the scope of the "apex taxon" and the website provides the means to interact with and modify the information contained in the database.  The apex taxon defines the scope of the database.  For instance, Orthoptera is the apex taxon of the Orthoptera Species File, which provides information about all taxa contained within the order Orthoptera.

The database is an SQL Server application.  The Species File Group has developed an SFS template that contains the basic database table structure as well as the stored procedures, user-defined functions and views used by species files.  The template is used as the starting point for new species file databases.

The website is a Visual Studio application.  It provides the interface between the database and those who use it.  The website provides not only the interface used by the public, but also the much larger interface used by the editors who manage the data contained in the database.  A template has also been prepared as the starting point for new species file websites.

Species File Software includes three sets of source code:
  • File specific code.  The information contained in this section is unique to the taxonomic group and is under control of its curator.
  • Common code.  This software is common to all species files.  It is under control of the Species File Group at the Illinois Natural History Survey.
  • Database application code.  This code is contained within the database.  It enables more efficient execution than would be possible if the common code were limited to queries as the only interface to the database.