Alternatives


Several other systems provide alternatives to core Arctos specimen data management functionality, and several products and services replicate some Arctos data in different environments. However, we know of no product reasonably comparable to Arctos in depth, scope, or connectivity.

    • Specify is a database platform that operates either through a local installation (i.e., software) or in a web browser. Users do not have much influence on development direction, and there is no capability to form resolvable links between Internet resources. Database and server administration, vocabulary management, and publication to other resources are left up to the user. Public access is available only by publishing Darwin Core data to external data aggregators (e.g., GBIF, VertNet), and therefore deep-query capability is inherently limited.
    • EMu is a commercial, locally installed collections management system built on a proprietary data store. The licensing fee varies depending on the services and number of users. Local technical support, hardware, administration, and backup strategy development and infrastructure maintenance is required.View presentation (installation at Field Museum of Natural History).
    • Symbiota is a web resource for publishing biodiversity data. It enables collections to publish data snapshots, and also offers some tools to provide basic online support for managing specimen data. Because collection management has not been the primary focus of Symbiota, its capabilities are limited compared to a robust system like Arctos that has a long history of collection management support. Furthermore, as with all non-relational data structures, it has severe inherent limits in normalization and therefore searchability.
    • CollectionSpace is an online collections management system that differs from Arctos in lacking normalization and being middleware-based, i.e., database rules are maintained outside the database, limiting the ways in which users can interact with data without compromising referential integrity.

    View comparison table
    (Prepared by Keith Barker, Carla Cicero, Gordon Jarrell, Craig Ludwig, Dusty McDonald; feedback welcome)