Evolutionary History:
The UCMP relational data model has its origins in the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) Workshop on Computerization held at the American Museum of Natural History in June 1990. This NSF-sponsored workshop, chaired by Dr. Michael Novacek, produced the Guidelines and Standards for Fossil Vertebrate Databases, edited by Dr. Stanley Blum. In January 1991, the Board of Technical Advisors of Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology met at the University of Kansas to design the Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology Paleontological data base. Roger Kaesler chaired the meeting, which included both Drs. Blum and David Lindberg from the earlier SVP workshop. The data model from this meeting was later released as PaleoBank by the Paleontological Institute in 1994. In the summer of 1992, Lindberg began combining the SVP and Treatise data models in to a single unit. The model was then passed to Dr. Barry Roth for beta testing, using molluscan land snail data. Dr. Roth made numerous improvements to the model and provided early documentation. Other UCMP staff and graduate students including Dr. Karen Wetmore and Marta de Maintenon provided important additions and evaluations of the model during this time. D. Lindberg incorporated these changes into the model and continued to beta test it with a limited invertebrate data set.
In 1993 Drs. Lindberg and William A. Clemens discussed the need to modify the UCMP data model so that references in the SVP Bibliography of Fossil Vertebrates data bases would be portable to the UCMP data model. Dr. Anthony Fiorillo provided early help identifying compatible fields in both data models, and in 1994 Jessica Theodor was jointly hired by UCMP and SVP to begin the melding of the data bases.
Theodorís work on the UCMP data model was both productive and innovative and in 1994 she was asked to implement a full working version for UCMP. Up until this point only beta versions were running in different sections of the museum. Theodorís charge was to provide a museum-wide model capable of handling all of the museumís collections and making it accessible via the World Wide Web. Following consultations with the museum collection managers Drs. Patricia Holroyd, Diane Erwin and Karen Wetmore, the model documented here was produced.