Ring Access, written and maintained by Vidar Bakken, has been in use in Norway by ringers and the ringing scheme.
At the EURING General Meeting in Anversa degli Abruzzi, Italy in 2009, it was decided that this software should be made available for use by other EURING ringing schemes and their ringers that do not currently have good computer systems in place. Vidar kindly agreed to adapt the program for wider use and to help with installation of the software.
The main alteration needed was to allow the use of different languages rather than Norwegian. The version in use had hard-coded text. The EURING version has all text (screen prompts, messages etc.) held in a separate file. To change to a different language, only the words and phrases in this file need to be changed; the program itself is unaltered by translation of these words. The first test version is in English because this is the most widely used language within the EURING community.
What it does
Ring Access allows ringing schemes and ringers to handle all the operations required for processing ringing data. The program is modular so that user will have access only to parts of the software required by them. There are modules for ringing schemes, ringing groups, group leaders and ringers
The facilities for schemes in the software include data entry and checking, import of existing computerised data, import of data from ringers, ringing groups and ringing stations. There are facilities for routine tabulations, recovery reporting, recovery information exchange and export of data to the EURING Data bank in EURING code. The software includes facilities for ringers to enter their ringing data and perform routine operations including data submission to the ringing scheme or group leader.
Current state (mid 2011)
Translation of the software into English is complete. The whole process of installation and loading scheme's previously-computerised data has been tested with the Channel Islands scheme. This scheme was chosen as the 'guinea pig' because it is an English speaking scheme, it is relatively small and already has a good many historic computerised ringing records (ringing, recapture, recovery records including biometric data).
With the CIJ scheme now operating the software it can be installed with some confidence in other schemes.
Before the software is installed at a ringing scheme, Vidar will need to import the scheme's existing computerised data. He can do this before he visits the scheme. In this stage, Vidar will check and reformat data into full EURING code before the loading process. Once the data have been loaded, Vidar will visit the scheme to install the software and train the ringing scheme staff. Current experience shows that this will take about two days of Vidar's time. Vidar has kindly agreed to do work this at less-than-commercial rates. It is hoped that schemes will be able to fund Vidar's time and travel. Once the software is installed, and the ringing scheme is familiar with it, then it can be given to ringers.
Existing computerised data
Most schemes have a large number of ringing and recovery records already computerised. All these records (with or without biometric data, newly ringed birds, recaptures and recoveries) can be loaded into RingAccess although Vidar will need to do some reformatting and checking if the data format is not yet in full EURING code. Schemes which intend to use RingAccess and which already have a system for computerising data are advised to continue with this system until RingAccess is installed. It is far easier for Vidar to import data in one format than to have to deal with several formats.
Which schemes are next?
It is anticipated that Vidar will be able to install software at the rate of 3 or 4 schemes per year. This rate might be increased depending on the success of the first schemes. There will be opportunity to discuss possible dates of installation at the EURING General Meeting in Malta.RingAccess Workshop in Malta
There will be a one-day workshop on the day before the start of the EURING General Meeting, in October 2011, run by Vidar. Schemes which are hoping to use the software are invited to attend this workshop. Details of arrangements will be found with the booking details for the EGM.