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DevToxData: Data entry details

An easy-to-use data acquisition program that can be operated on a PC under Windows has been developed for this project.

For the initialization of a new study, a so-called "wizard" is used: this tool guides the user through all the necessary steps to set up the basic structure of the study (e.g. study type, number of groups, number of animals per group, etc.). Once a study exists, data can be entered in the following categories:

  • study data, like species, strain, breeder, diet parameters, etc.
  • treatment group data, like housing conditions and treatment-related data
  • data of individual maternal animals, like mating and treatment dates, diet and water consumptions, body weights, etc.
  • data of individual fetuses, like sex, status, weight, type of evaluation, etc.
  • findings (external, skeletal and soft tissue) observed in the fetuses
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Click for larger imageFig. 1: DevTox.DataEntry program: Study structure (on the left) and screen for entering maternal animal data (on the right).
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Click for larger imageFig. 2: DevTox.DataEntry program: Data entry screen for adding skeletal findings.

A hierarchical presentation of the study structure in the form of a "tree" (see Fig. 1, left side) increases clarity. Data is being entered by using data entry forms (see Fig. 1, right side, as an example for maternal animal data). During this data entry process, the software performs several logical tests and informs the user of missing obligatory information.

For supporting data entry of fetal findings, the complete data base lexicon with the harmonized nomenclature is also included in the DevTox.DataEntry program. The terminology for external, skeletal and soft tissue anomalies is displayed for data entry either as an alphabetically sorted list or as a hierarchical tree (see Fig. 2). Selecting the findings from these menus makes the data entry process very convenient and assures the use of the terminology, defined in the data base lexicon. Direct and context-sensitive access from the DevTox.DataEntry program to this Web site is also implemented: this feature enables the user to verify a fetal finding with sample images shown in DevTox.nom.

For verification of entered data, the user can create numerous reports defining (i) the kind of data to be included in the report (e.g. general animal data, body weights, water consumption, fetal findings, etc.) and (ii) the groups, animals or fetuses to be used to derive the data (e.g. only group 1 and 2, females only, animal numbers 10 to 27, etc.). Reports can be viewed on the screen or can be printed in several formats.

For the final transfer of data to the central Oracle data base, a specific data transfer format and related export and import routines have been established. Data transfer can be performed either direct via e-mail or by copying the data to disk and use traditional mail.

Many parts of the software can be individually configured by the user, e.g. the dialog language (English or German), formats of animal or fetus numbers, arrangement of information in the study tree view, etc..

Although the current version of DevTox.DataEntry has still a "beta" status, tests with several real studies have proven so far the functionality and usefulness of the software. It is anticipated to extend the program in the future by modules which allow a semi-automatic transfer of data from other relevant data collecting systems.

 Last update: 20-Aug-2002 | Contact: DevTox@bfr.bund.de Top of page