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New in ZIMS: A faster way to edit and approve Provisional Data for your animal care and aquatics teams

Tennessee Aquarium Herpetologist Mackenzie Strickland cares for turtles in the nursery and other enclosures – and was among the first to begin entering information about the collections directly into ZIMS. Earlier this year, Tennessee Aquarium Registrar Christina Newman orchestrated a transition which enables forestry staff and aquarists to enter data directly into ZIMS from locations throughout the Aquarium. Read more in this Species360 Feature: With a deep sense of place, Tennessee Aquarium advocates for turtles and their habitats.

Species360 Product Owner Nannette Driver-Ruiz manages developments and member adoption of ZIMS for Husbandry, including Animal Care and Welfare, and Aquatics.

As a registrar, have you ever scanned provisional records, found a spelling error and wished you could simply edit and approve right from the “view” screen? Good news – now you can!

In the face of COVID-19 challenges, more zoo keepers and aquarists are using ZIMS to directly record the care, enrichment, enclosure and other information that is essential to managing animal welfare. This streamlines the way that animal records are created and managed, and in many cases improves upon more centralized models in which data entry fell primarily to registrars and dedicated staff. 

An unexpected outcome. A surprising result, say registrars, is the increase in detail and insight shared by those working directly with animals and enclosures. At Tennessee Aquarium, where more than 25 aquatics and forestry staff enter information right into ZIMS, it’s a welcome outcome.

“When we started having more people enter information directly into ZIMS, my concern was it would not be as informative or that I would have a lot of errors to fix. But what I didn’t expect was that they were going to be more detailed,” said Christina Newman, Registrar, Tennessee Aquarium.

Errors will happen, however, from spelling to missing data, and registrars use a feature called ZIMS Provisional Data to uphold data quality. Provisional Data safeguards entries until the registrar or supervisor can review and approve entries. Once complete, this provisional data record becomes part of the permanent ZIMS husbandry records shared throughout the institution.

With input from members, Species360 is enhancing the way that ZIMS Provisional Data works. Among the changes most requested, is the ability to view, edit, and approve data from the Pending Provisional Data “view” screen.

Red Panda cubs get their first check up at Perth Zoo, where staff care for 1,300 animals. See the video. (Source: Zoos Victoria)

“It is great to be able to edit provisional records before we approve them! Thank you for adding this function.” – Pamela Smith, Perth Zoo

Previously, the provisional data interface required a registrar or supervisor to open the pending record to view, close it, then approve. And if edits were needed, go to the animal or enclosure record itself to edit. Or ask the provisional user that recorded the data to fix it before approving.

Now, Species360 has introduced an enhancement to ZIMS Provisional Data that makes it faster and easier to review and edit records.

How it works: “Approve” or “Edit and Approve” right from the View screen

When viewing a Pending Provisional record, now you can Approve the record from the expanded view screen. This will save extra clicks!

For many of the record types, there is also the option to Edit before Approving. This will save time spent tracking down the staff member that recorded the data and asking them to make changes or, Approving the entry as is and then going into the record to edit it. More extra clicks saved!

Keepers retain credit for the original entry

What happens if you edit a provisional record but want to see what was originally recorded by the keeper? The original record will be listed on the Provisional Approved tab, and the Edited version can be found in regular Data Entry Monitoring. So, your keeper gets credit for adding the record and you get credit for editing.

Up next: Fixing one record in a batch entry

What if I want to edit a record that was recorded as a batch entry? This is still a work in progress. There are a lot of moving parts with batch data entry, so there is still work to be done, but it is coming! Keep your eyes open for more improvements to Provisional Data in ZIMS for Husbandry.

Saint Louis Zoo and other institutions take a different approach to managing data oversight across more than 100 staff using ZIMS throughout the organization. They employ a feature called Advanced Access Management which allows them to partition and manage access for various teams, and to assign supervisory roles that ensure accuracy and quality. Read more about their approach in this post written in collaboration with Saint Louis Zoo Registrar Rae Lynn Haliday.

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