12 September 2016

Vote for Great Ideas!

Here in the US, we’re getting ready for the Presidential Election. When we vote, we get little red “I voted!” stickers which are worn proudly, stuck on shirts and laptops and even make appearances on social media.  Voting matters – and not just for political issues.  It matters for ZIMS, too! 

When you have a great idea for ZIMS – whether it is big or small – you have the chance to share it with the Species360 community via our Receptive application.  (In ZIMS, click Start > Submit an enhancement.)  As you can imagine, we get hundreds of ideas from our members – and we just can’t do hundreds of things (just like we can’t vote for hundreds of people!)  So one of factors in our decision process is how many members are interested in a particular idea, and you can help by voting for ideas you like!

But what if no one votes for your idea?  When you submit an enhancement, take time first to search and see if someone else had a similar idea.  You definitely don’t want to split your votes between two essentially identical enhancements, so if someone’s already submitted your idea, go ahead and vote for theirs – and feel free to add a comment if you like to explain anything you think they might not have covered!  In addition, it is well worth an extra minute or two to come up with a great title for your enhancement.  You’d be amazed how many ideas are submitted with a title like “enhancement idea” or “suggestion for enhancement.”  You could have a world-changing, brilliant idea – but if you name it “enhancement idea,” no one will vote for it.  Titles like “Add birth date filter to activity reports” are far more likely to get votes since folks will know what they mean.

So go for it – come up with great ideas, and vote for other folks’ great ideas.  We’ll see if we can come up with a virtual “I voted!” sticker.

Elisabeth Hunt
Member Support and Training Director

07 September 2016

Come together and great things (like ZIMS for Studbooks) can happen!

We are getting really excited about our upcoming release of ZIMS for Studbooks. It will be a great tool to help our community better manage the animals, species, and populations that we serve. It will provide a single source for well over 1,000 studbooks and help integrate those studbooks with institutional collection data from over 1,000 Species360 (formerly ISIS) members in 88 different countries.

This goal would not be possible without the partnership and collaboration of our regional association partners, especially AZA, EAZA, WAZA, and ZAA (Australia). Thank you, Regional Association partners! Our overall goal is to help support their programs with our tools and related data. They have played a vital role in helping to design our product and plan for its deployment to their members, including pricing. They will also help define how ZIMS for Studbooks is used for their programs.

AZA, in particular, was in the unique position of having PopLink, its own studbook management software. Our partnership was formalized by a mutually agreed memorandum of understanding (MOU) to unify its programs under one software tool, ZIMS for Studbooks, which will replace PopLink and SPARKS as a single solution for AZA members. The MOU was signed by AZA, AZA’s Population Management Center (PMC), and the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Approximately 95% of the studbooks authorized by these regional associations are held by institutions that are already Species360 members. ZIMS for Studbooks is included with Species360 membership.  This was the same for SPARKS, our current studbook software product.  This is a huge benefit to share the costs of developing and enhancing ZIMS for Studbooks across a global membership, which continues grow our partnerships with other regional association partners like SEAZA, JAZA, ALPZA, PAZAA, CZA, among many others. 

There are some studbooks held at non-Species360 members, approximately 5% of the total number authorized by AZA, EAZA, WAZA, and ZAA (Australia). We will support these studbooks in ZIMS too.  It will come at a cost though. The cost to non-members will help share the responsibility of ZIMS for Studbooks across those institutions that use it. The costs are already shared by Species360 members, as a part of their membership. The costs are not intended to be paid by the studbook keepers themselves.  This ensures a sustainable software product for our community. Please click here for an FAQ with more details.

Katelyn Mucha, Product Manager of ZIMS for Studbooks, will be sharing more details on the software itself and timelines. Look for that soon!

--Doug Verduzco, Chief Information Officer, Species360

02 September 2016

Watch a new Species360 video with us!

Happy Friday, all!

As some of you know, our rebranding efforts (from ISIS to Species360) have included the creation of a video that brings home both our new name and our unchanged passion for animals and those who care for them. We’ll be showing it at conferences, training workshops, regional association meetings and all other opportunities that arise.

I hope you’ll enjoy the video enough to share it with friends, peers and colleagues. And, of course, we’d welcome any and all feedback. Go see!

24 August 2016

Keep in Touch!

Keep In Touch!

I've just gotten back from vacation, where I spent time with old friends from my years working at Binder Park Zoo.  As we parted ways, we promised each other we'd keep in touch. 

That made me think of a project we've been working on “behind the scenes” here at Species360.  The past several years have seen big changes for you, our members, as you moved from our legacy software to ZIMS.  Just like you, we've moved from older legacy systems to new software for managing our business.  We even had our own data migration project from our old contact management system to our new one – and that meant we brought thousands of old contact names and email addresses with us.

When we need to contact you, it's critical that we have current information.  Sometimes we need to send information to your directors, or to your Species360 representative, or to the invoice recipient at your institution.  If those contacts aren't in ZIMS, we don't have a way to get information to you that you need as a member of Species360.

The project we've been working on this summer has been to move all the old, “hidden” contacts into ZIMS where you can see them.  You might have noticed some additions to your staff list – that's us, making those “hidden” contacts visible to you (they are not visible outside your institution.)  If they are old or incorrect, please update them or mark them obsolete!  That way, we won't send messages to the wrong people.

It's easy to manage your staff list in ZIMS – just click “Start > Institution > My Institution” and then expand the Staff grid.  You can right-click on each staff member and choose “View/Edit Staff Details” to update names, job types, emails, etc.  It is critical that you have at least a director, Species360 Representative, and Species360 Invoice Recipient identified at your institution so you don't miss critical communications from us.  And of course, you can always reach out to us at support@Species360.org .

After all, we want to keep in touch!

Elisabeth Hunt
Member Support and Training Director, Species360




12 August 2016

If a shark could knit . . . . silly thoughts on a serious topic

It's Friday and we're in a silly mood. 

Per the story linked here, the Greenland shark--second-largest carnivorous shark after great whites--may live for 400 years. Imagine that! At one every three months, you could knit 1,600 sweaters--enough to clothe a small town. Don't knit? At one game per week, you could play 20,800 games of soccer. Granted, most sharks have neither hands to hold knitting needles, nor feet to kick a ball. With all that time, what might a shark do that is, well, sharky? How many fish could it consume? How many sharks could it help procreate? How many miles could it swim?

If this lifespan estimation is correct (and there is some evidence to suggest individual specimens could live as long as 512 years old) the Greenland shark's longevity would be exceeded only by the ocean quahog clam--which, we feel compelled to mention, could neither knit a sweater nor play soccer--nor even circumnavigate the globe many many many times, as can the Greenland shark. Still, extreme age even in a clam is noteworthy in and of itself.

On a more serious note, shark conservation efforts have become increasingly urgent as sharks are caught in ever-greater numbers for such human uses as shark fin soup, as well as as by-catch of commercial fisheries. Though shark week movie marathons are television staples, and the reputation of sharks is undeservedly negative, don't we owe them a healthy dose of concern? We suggest you think of this the next time you knit a sweater or play a game of soccer--or go for a swim.

Greenland sharks