You can choose the application background imagery from your own image galleries or try Bing images of the day. This cycles through some wonderfully distracting images every 30 seconds or so.
The living collections module manages data and images for botanic gardens, arboreta, estates and other horticultural projects. The module takes advantage of all the standard BRAHMS features to edit, query, report, map, export and publish online with additional features for garden accessions and plants. You can read more in the BRAHMS for Botanic Gardens section in the BRAHMS manual.
Many tables have one or more calculated fields. These are handy fields that provide a range of numeric totals and calculated text strings. Examples are to total up the number of images or documents per record; the number of collections made by different collectors; and the number of genera and species per family. Calculated fields have multiple uses with viewing, reporting and error checking, as well as simply knowing what's in your database.
Column summaries are a powerful way to list all the different values in the current column. Moving to a different column updates the summary. Furthermore, you can use the column summary tool to quickly filter on one or more of the listed values.
Spreadsheets and forms
By default, BRAHMS uses versatile data grids with context sensitive toolbar options to locate, select, sort, query and analyze your data.
Opening and linking multiple tables
In BRAHMS v8, you can open as many tables as you wish at the same time. Table docking can be arranged as needed and using different monitors. Where tables are related, for example, [Family -> Genus -> Species -> Collection event -> Specimen] or ... [Species -> Garden Accession -> Garden Plant -> Plant Events], you can relate these tables to dynamically update as you select records on your data grids. This also applies to maps and external weblinks.
Spread out on multiple monitors
Data grids, forms, images, weblinks, maps and calculation screens can all be undocked and used on separate monitors. Toolbar options always apply to the last selected window.
Find anything - anywhere
When you open any data grid, you can use the Find option to locate any text or a number in any grid cell. Cells that include your text are highlighted in yellow. Using the search box navigation arrows, you can move to the next or previous matching cell.
Explore, query, filter
BRAHMS v8 includes comprehensive search functionality. The top 'filter row' feature provides an extremely fast way to add multiple filters. You can also quickly filter to the value in any cell, adding further cell value filters using the Selection and +Selection toolbar options. Using the main Query tool form, you can design and save your own queries. These queries, which generate visible SQL commands, can mix and match fields of any type. Column summaries and Tree Views provide additional mechanism to quickly locate and query your data.
The ability to sort records, vital for reporting, is also useful to simply locate records and to find errors. Tables can be sorted on single or multiple columns by clicking and shift-clicking on the headers. Complex sorts are carried out and saved using the sorting tool.
Selecting visible columns
You can customise the visible columns from the Grid Tools menu. Multiple column views can be saved for each table and then selected from a drop down list. There are a number of ways to select or hide columns.
Design your own Tree Views
Tree Views provide an excellent way to locate, explore and filter data as well as tracking down spelling errors. The Tree View designer allows you to create and save your own views with up to 10 hierarchical levels, as many as you need per table. Once opened, you can then use the locate and filter options offered, for example 'filter on selection' when you click on any tree level.
Module specific tools
Module specific data processing tools help with many different tasks, for example, checking data quality and editing records in batches.
All data editing is initiated using the Edit toolbar. Context sensitive editing applies throughout BRAHMS. Thus, if you are in a date field, a date editor is used while with map points, the map point editor will be available. All changes are tracked and can be reversed in steps.
Comments are easily added to any record using the data tools Comments option.
If BRAHMS does not have the storage fields you need, you can add your own 'custom fields'. These fields are fully integrated with your database and appear in your main data grids with equal status to BRAHMS default fields. Custom fields can be added to any table.
Taxon names in v8
BRAHMS has separate tables for Higher Classification, Families, Genera and Species. The first three of these store details from Kingdom through Phylum, Class and Sub Class down to the Order, family and genus. In each of these tables, you can define further taxonomic levels as needed for particular taxa groups, examples being suborder, superfamily, subgenus, tribe, section and series. Each name can be assigned an authority and be linked to publication details. Further standard fields are provided for commonly stored data and again, you can extend the tables by adding your own custom fields.
Descriptive text for taxa
You can store descriptive text for all taxa levels, defining as many text categories as you need. For example, you may want to store details of recommended seed germination procedures at the species level, notes on species hardiness or preferred water requirement or sun tolerance, perhaps a technical description of a genus. All these texts are stored in a central table and can be viewed/edited there or when viewing the respective taxa records themselves.
Permits and Permissions
The Legal option under Data Tools provides access to all details on permits, permissions and other issues related to the legal status of material and its movement. You can store details on permits of different types with links to material transfer agreements, notes on due diligence and other documents. Entries can be categorized as Nagoya (2014 onwards), CBD (1991 - 2014 ) or pre-CBD.
When a garden accession arrives as seed or bulbs, a graft, a cutting, a living plant or other type of propagule, it is either planted directly into a collection in the garden or it is kept in production until it is moved to a permanent site in collections.
Menus and toolbars
Context sensitive ribbon toolbars similar to those used in Microsoft Office applications, offer all the features that long term v7 users have voted for. These include record tagging, two step deletion, zoom, column summaries and column selection. They also make BRAHMS v8 intuitive - easy to learn and use.
You can add literature references to the main literature table, linking these to any record in your database. Typically, links will be to species but you may want to store reference entries for people, genera, seed collections, plants, etc.
Importing data from Excel
Using the Excel Import Wizard, Excel tables can be opened and imported directly into Rapid Data Entry files and then, after checking/editing, transferred into BRAHMS itself. The Import Wizard is accessed when an RDE file is opened.
Matching data from Excel
Match records provided in an Excel table to records in BRAHMS using any combination of fields, tagging the matched records. Examples uses: match a list of species provided in Excel to your own species list; match a list of museum specimens or seed accessions based on a list of barcodes provided in Excel.
Adding to the existing report features, we have connected BRAHMS v8 to a reporting suite that effectively replaces the functions of Text and Visual reporting in v7. As with the ArcGIS API, links to Stimulsoft Reporting have been fully embedded in BRAHMS v8. This new reporter, which comes licensed with BRAHMS, provides almost limitless power to generate lists, master detail reports, labels, charts, cross-tabs and more. You can print, send to documents, attach as email or publish online. Stimulsoft report wizards are provided and there are guides and videos available online for those wanting to stretch their report design legs. Some ready to use examples are provided with BRAHMS, together with some start up notes. For those familiar with v7 reporting, there are many familiar features such as a visual designer; report bands for headers, data, footers and summaries; and text formatting and style setting. Although not needed, you can refer to the full reporter user manual.
Transactions - loans, gifts, exchanges and similar
Managing transactions is an important feature in BRAHMS v8 - be these for preserved or living material. Transactions are linked to the categories you choose to add to your database. After adding a transaction record, you can link or unlink items; print packing notes and correspondence; record material as returned; edit determinations; and review all transactions using any of the standard data grid features. Transactions, best managed using barcoded material, can be uploaded to BRAHMS onliine as Image based transactions..
By tagging a record in any table, you add a character or number to the TAG field. Tagging opens up numerous options for subsequent record selections, processing and analysis. A simple example would be to tag a selection of collection events or garden plants manually or using a function - and then when mapping, restrict to tagged. Tagged records are dynamically coloured. All tags are user specific. Thus, on networked systems, your tagging operations do not interfere with those of another user.
Tag Group Manager
The Tag Group Manager allows you to save profiles of tagged records in any table. You can mark up records with any of the available tag characters/numbers and then save these tags to a named tag group. Examples are 'Medicinal species', 'My research taxa', 'Garden plants of special interest', and 'Localities of special interest'. Tags from your saved tag groups can be loaded/restored to the respective table.
Mapping options include dynamic links to the in-built ArcGIS and externally, by passing data to ArcGIS, Google Earth, DIVA, QGIS and GeoCAT. Any data with map references (collection events, botanic garden plants, etc.) can be mapped.
Map point editing
The map location editor can be used in RDE and in the main tables for collection events and botanic garden plant points. The editor opens an online map form which updates as you move through the data grid. Records with existing Latitude and Longitude points will be mapped using a single point on your selected base map. A right-click on the map resets the point position and either auto-saves this to the grid or awaits conformation with via the Save option.
Map search and analysis
The integrated ArcGIS is being extended in phases to provide search and analysis features.
Images can be linked to any record in BRAHMS and you can link multiple images to the same record. All images are listed in the central images table with their full pathname or web URL. Images may be located in any location including in media libraries and cloud servers. Read more about managing images in BRAHMS. You can store links to images using a URL - you do not need to have a copy of the image file. Read more about managing images in BRAHMS.
Multiple documents of any type can be linked to any record in BRAHMS. This could be a PDF material transfer agreement or collection permit linked to a specimen, accession or transaction; a protologue description linked to a species; a sound file linked to an animal entry; or perhaps a video or slideshow linked to a botanic garden greenhouse record. You can link any category of media.