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Pacific Walrus International Database (PWID)

PWID Manual

(Also available as an Acrobat document (96k .pdf file))


Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) occur throughout the Bering and Chukchi Seas. A wide variety of data have been collected on seasonal distributions of walrus in these areas; however, much of this information is scattered between different resource agencies and between Russian and U.S. jurisdictions. Russian and U.S. scientists conducted periodic surveys of walruses in the Bering and Chukchi Seas beginning in the 1950's. Most information from U.S. surveys are accessible only through agency reports, and data from Russian surveys are published in the Russian language. Thus, these survey data may be difficult for many researchers to obtain and use. The purpose of this database is to locate and compile walrus abundance and distribution data and establish cooperative arrangements to facilitate inclusion of data into a standardized database that can be accessible to cooperators.

The Pacific Walrus International Database (PWID) is a comprehensive set of Pacific walrus biological data collected by several participating organizations in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Data compilation was focused on abundance and distribution data, however, other types of data are included. Data categories include: land and ice haulout counts, sex/age composition, reproduction, mortality, harvest statistics, and morphometry. As of September 1998, the database includes reference to 33 data sets. The PWID includes metadata for every data set, but for some data sets the data may have been retained by the data owner.

Identical copies of the PWID are maintained by the Pacific Scientific Research Fisheries Center (TINRO), Magadan, Russia and the Alaska Science Center (ASC), Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Managers at each facility will provide data access for authorized users. Metadata is available for public use at the ASC-BSO web site.

PWID participants included: U.S.G.S. Biological Resources Division; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Alaska Department of Fish and Game; University of Alaska Fairbanks; Pacific Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, Russia; Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve, Russia; and the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences. Development of this database was funded by the U.S. Minerals Management Service.

Database Structure and Content

PWID consists of data sets which are described by standard metadata files. Each individual data set covers a particular theme, such as "Wrangel Island Haulout Counts" or "1984 Alpha Helix Cruise". All files are organized in a directory structure on a personal computer running Microsoft Windows.Metadata Metadata tables are detailed descriptions of the quality, content, and ownership of each data set contained in PWID. Metadata files are also available for some data sets which are held privately by data owners; this is intended to facilitate communication between researchers. There are 3 types of metadata: Local Database Level, Table Level, and Field Level. Data Sets Data sets consist of one or more database tables associated by a common theme. The data are stored in Corel Paradox Version 5 database tables. Other modern database and spreadsheet software will import these tables successfully, but relations and customized interfaces may be lost. Review the associated metadata carefully to determine required lookup tables, find keys for codes used in the database, and learn other important information.

Retrieving Data

Review the Metadata Obtain access to a copy of the Local Database Level Metadata file from the PWID web site. It is available as an interactive Corel Paradox Version 5 database and Adobe Acrobat document. The metadata describe all pertinent details of every data set available. Questions about the nature of a data set should be made directly to the data owner listed. Request Permission from Data Owner Potential data users must request permission from the original data owner to access a data set. Specify in the request: which data are being requested, the purpose of the request, intended uses of the data, and intentions regarding any form of publication resulting from data access. Authorship and acknowledgment issues should be addressed in the request.Data owners, if in agreement, will grant written permission which may include conditions they feel are appropriate for granting access. Conditions might include limited scope of access, limited time frame for access, limitations on subsequent publication and authorship restrictions.Violations of the mutual access agreements between a potential user and data owner will result in exclusion of the user from any future access to PWID. If an unauthorized publication is involved in the violation, the PWID manager(s) and original data owner will notify publishers of the disputed data that a violation of professional ethics has occurred.Contact Local Database Manager The U.S. or Russian database manager must receive written copies of the request and permission documents before data are released to a potential user. The database manager will release data sets subject to the conditions imposed by the data owner. Potential users should contact the local database manager to arrange file transfer.Using the Data Sets Data tables, Table-Level, and Field-Level metadata tables are provided with each data set. PWID data sets are provided to users as Corel Paradox Version 5 database tables. If you require an alternative file format, please contact your local database manager for options.Some data sets are provided with customized graphical user interface forms, which simplify access to the database. These interfaces have an ".fsl" file extension. Click on the icon to use the form. Some data sets also include custom report forms, which format the database for output to a printer. These reports have an ".rsl" extension. Click on the icon to run the report. Errors and Omissions Please report any errors or omissions to the original data owner.

Submitting Data

Please contact your local database manager for guidance in data submission. For each data set, submit Local, Table and Field-level metadata entries as text files following the format in Appendices 1-3. Please submit data tables in one of the following formats: Corel Paradox, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, Borland Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, or ASCII text. Other file formats may also be accommodated; contact the database manager for details.

Questions and Comments

Please submit inquiries and suggestions regarding the structure, usage, and administration of PWID to your local database manager. Direct questions about the content of individual data sets directly to the data set owner.

Metadata Formats

Local Database Level Metadata

a. Data Category

aerial counts of walrus in sea and on ice
shipboard counts of walrus on sea and ice
aerial and ground counts of walrus on beach
sex and age composition

Multiple data categories may be used to describe a single data set. List the most appropriate category first in a comma-delimited list.

b. Location
General region from which data were collected. Narrative description (eg-"Western Bering Sea") or geographic bounding coordinates are acceptable.

c. Dates
Inclusive dates during which data were collected.

d. Owner
Agency responsible for data maintenance and granting access permission. Minimum content is a full surface mail address and telephone number. Please include telephone, facsimilie, and electronic mail contact information if applicable.

e. Principal Investigators
Individuals leading data collection.

f. Data contained in database
Y =
Data are available from the PWID manager.
N =
Data are held privately by data owner.

g. Status
Current stage of completeness of the data set.

1 = Work in Progress
Data are being actively collected or revised. Generally, these data are not considered for release until work is complete.
2 = Data set completed
Data collection is complete and some initial processing and error correction have been conducted. These data may be considered for release to appropriate users. However, specific proposals must be carefully reviewed by data owners.
3 = Data Archived
Data collection has ceased and data have been thoroughly verified and evaluated. In most cases, the work for which the data were collected has been completed. These data are usually provided to potential users when release is authorized by data owner.

h. Permission
The current level of access permitted by the data owner. All potential users must secure permission from the data owner to access a data set, regardless of the permission status indicated here.

U = Unrestricted access to all fields.
All fields in the data set are available upon request.
R = Restricted access to all fields.
No fields in the data set are available for access
P = Restricted access to some fields.
Some fields in the data set are available upon request.

i. Additional Comments
May include references to published literature which may be useful to gain a better understanding of how the data were collected and potential limitations.

Table Level Metadata Format

The data set may consist of one or more database tables (files). Additional files, such as lookup tables, user interface scripts, and text, may also be included. The database manager will determine items c. and d. below.
a. Name
Name of file(s) that comprise the data set.

b. Description
Narrative description of the file(s).

c. Datetime
Date and time of last revision to file.

d. Filesize
File size in kilobytes.

Field Level Metadata Format

The database manager will determine items d., e., and f. below.
a. Name
Field name.

b. Description
Complete description of the field contents. Include units (eg- "millimeters", "individuals") and the value which represents NODATA, if applicable. (NODATA is a defined value which prevents empty observations from being falsely interpreted as "zero".)

c. LUT
Name of lookup table which explains data codes used in field, if applicable.

d. Type
Data type: numeric, character, date, or binary object.

e. Width
Field width, in characters.

f. % Full
Percentage of records in table which have a non-empty data item in this field.

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