Here's a summary of the replies I got to my inquiry about suitable
database programmes for seed/DNA databases. I can be short: all
people that replied use Filemaker pro for their databases, so it
seems a good alternative for Ms Access. At the following
website you can get more info on the software and prices:
Sean May from the Nottingham stock center has provided me with the
following pro's and con's:
" 1. Access has had limitations on the number of objects in it for a
long time (big problem), and it has limits on the amount of
information for each object (not such a problem as the limits are
quite generous (a gig or two)).
2. I found Access slightly more intuitive than Filemaker initially
having come from an SQL background, but I have to say that Access
seems a lot slower in use and produces enormous files for quite small
databases. Filemaker is also set up to share between machines over a
LAN (and very easily over the web in a reasonable form with no extra
software), wheras you still need to use something like Frontpage or
PWS to share excel/access files I believe.
3. One big advantage of using Filemaker is that we could give you our
database file with annotations and layouts which you could link within
your internal database - if that was useful. e.g. if you have a
reasonable number of our stocks then they are already annotated for
4. Obviously this web linking would be pretty much as straightforward
in either Filemaker or Access. "
Charles Gasser provided me with copies of his database files (which
saves making your own database lay-out) and added the following
" As I understand it, filemaker files are completely cross-platform.
If stored on a server, Mac and Wintel clients can both access the
same databases. The files I sent you are created with a very old
version of filemaker (7 years old, no reason to upgrade it is a great
program!). You may have to pass these through a new version on a Mac
to put them in cross-platform format. "
My conlusion: Filemaker pro seems more user friendly and flexible,
but I did not get the impression that this balances the investment in
case you already use Ms Office in your institute.
Again, I want to thank everybody who reacted.
> Dear colleagues,
>> Like with all Ara-fans our seed/DNA collection is expanding rapidly.
> I would be interested to hear what database software (other than
> Microsoft Access) you use to administrate your DNA/bacterial
> strains/seed collections, whether this is easy/ready to use (pc,
> mac?), and if so, under which conditions this would be availabe.
>> For those interested as well, I will send a summary of the replies to
> this newsgroup.
>> Thanks in advance for the info.
Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences
Clusius Laboratory, Wassenaarseweg 64
2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands
Email: OFFRINGA at RULBIM.LeidenUniv.nl