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The NCD toolkit v 1.0 allows users to create collection descriptions adhering to the NCD schema 0.8. Anybody can search or browse the records created in the toolkit, but only registered users can add, update or delete records. Administrators have access to additional functionality to manipulate or export records (also see FEATURES and USER MANAGEMENT).

Natural Collections Description (NCD) is a data standard for describing collections of natural history materials at the collection level; one NCD record describes one entire collection. NCD is a lightweight resource description standard specific to natural history. NCD is between a general resource discovery standards such as Dublin Core (DC) and rich collection description standards such as the Encoded Archival Description (EAD). It will be possible to extract a Dublin Core record from an NCD record for use with general resource discovery systems or. It is also possible to use an NCD record as the seed for a richer collection description.

The NCD standard covers any type of natural history collection, including specimens, original artwork, archives, observations, library materials, datasets, photographs or mixed collections such as those that result from expeditions and voyages of discovery.

Collection descriptions are electronic records that document the holdings of organisations as groups of items. Such descriptions complement the more traditional item-level records describing a single specimen or a library book. Each collection record describes one entire collection, including information on the extent and purpose of the collection, conditions of access and use and who to contact for more information.

A collection is loosely defined as any group of things that have something in common. That "something in common" can be defined by the basic questions that users ask when accessing collections - who, what, where and when. Examples of collections include:

   * items that were collected or made by a particular person
   * items that have the same format, such as art on paper
   * items that came from the same place
   * specimens that belong to the same taxonomic group
   * all specimens collected on a research voyage

In natural history museums, for example, the best known collections are the specimens, the library and the archives. Exhibitions, paintings and sculptures are also collections. The electronic equivalents include datasets and databases (which are collections of item-level records) and the thematic sections of Web-sites.

Four main areas are served by collection-level description records:

   * resource discovery, providing a descriptive overview of each collection
   * establishment of relationships between collections in several locations
   * as an aid for collections management processes
   * provide complete metadata for other data records (e.g. specimen records)

The latest version of the NCD schema can be found in the TDWG resource directories: http://rs.tdwg.org/ncd/


   * Wizards guiding users to create records for institutions, collections and persons
   * Inline help explaining the NCD terminology
   * Functionality to update or delete existing records
   * Interface to browse or search records
   * Fine-tuned user management allowing users to work in different groups, 
     manipulate only those records that have been created by users in the same group
   * Advanced functionality for administrators: move collections to different institutions, 
     deal with orphaned records that can occur after incomplete records, export data


The NCD toolkit features a user management system. The administrator setting up the system (or any other administrator) can create new users and user groups. Depending on his or her role, a user has full access to the system including user management (administrator), or can only create, update and delete contents (user). User groups are determining the permissions a user has to update or delete records. Only users in the same group can edit each others records. If a user does not have enough privileges to edit a record, the option is offered to contact the creator of the record.


The NCD toolkit v1.0 does not yet offer the option to exchange records with the Biodiversity Collections Index (BCI). BCI development has just started at the release of this tookit version. 

Records can be exported to NCD 0.8 but the toolkit does not yet support NCD import. At the time of release of the toolkit, NCD is not yet finalized and there are no examples or files with NCD data available yet to base an import on.

NCD 0.8 is not backwards compatible with its precursor NoDIT. Therefore this toolkit is also not compatible with the Nodit database developed in BioCASE. The toolkit interface is available in English, but data can be entered in English plus one additional language.

Please read the INSTALL.txt file for installation instructions.

After instattation, open a web-browser, go to http://-yourwebsite-/ncd/index.php and follow the instructions, or read the user documentation.

If you are having problems with you PHP installation, run the script installation/info.php to check what are the extensions loaded, 
where is php.ini located, etc.

Activating error logging in your PHP installation is a good idea. You just need to set the following options in you php.ini file:
log_errors = On
error_log = /some_directory/php.log

If you are getting unexpected blank pages in your browser when running scripts, try increasing the memory limit of your PHP instance. Look for the option "memory_limit" in your php.ini file. The default value  is usually 8M. Try setting it to 16M or 32M. 

Another PHP setting you might want to adjust is the socket timeout, especially if you are going to work with response structures that take a long time to load. Look for the "default_socket_timeout" option in the php.ini file.

Note: you need to restart your web server everytime you make changes in php.ini!
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