Mandala is a database system based on FileMaker that allows recording and managing of biodiversity data, in particular of invertebrate natural history collections.

Mandala 8v01 (released 12 April 2011) is a suite of 27 interrelated database tables now in three files (see Overview and Model), which uses the popular cross-platform database application, FileMaker® Pro. Mandala supports four major realms of data acquisition and management for systematics and biodiversity studies: specimens, literature, taxonomic names, and illustrations.

Mandala can be used to:

  • track museum loans, specimens, bulk samples from a collecting event & their subsamples sorted for further identification by specialists;

  • detail the complex history of a taxonomic name, relate elements to literature, specimens, and illustrations;

  • export a multitude of data for phenological plots, specimens examined lists, and distribution mapping;

  • provide direct URLs to GenBank records and document the processes (extraction, PCR, primers, sequences) used to arrive at the GenBank submission;

  • catalogue images and illustrations related to specimens, taxa, localities, collecting events, and literature;

  • store and link literature to appropriate taxonomic names, specimens, illustrations, and collecting localities; and

  • record numerous details about individual specimens including a literal transcription of the label(s), enhanced locality and collecting event data as interpreted from the label(s), taxonomic determination history, physical condition of the specimen and how it has been preserved, ecological/biological associations with other collected specimens or other taxa associated but not collected, type designation, and other relevant information.

Tool: Mandala

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If you are using the software. you should cite: Kampmeier, G. E. and M. E. Irwin. 2009. Meeting the interrelated challenges of tracking specimen, nomenclature, and literature data in Mandala. Chapter 15 in T. Pape, D. Bickel, and R. Meier (eds.) Diptera Diversity: Status, Challenges and Tools. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 407-437.