Institutional Records Keeping

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PMII Warthog

February 8-13, 2016
Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV



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Course Description

Institutional Records Keeping offers students the theory and mechanics of animal records-keeping and identifies the important role accurate records play in successful animal management not only within the institution but also in regional and global cooperative species management programs.  This course offers students training that will integrate best practices for accurate data entry and standardization of data along with technical instruction in ISIS’ Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS). Effective communication skills are emphasized to facilitate the exchange of information within and between institutions required for collaborative programs. Instruction in permitting and shipping processes round out the course agenda in providing a full complement of topics related to records keeping. This course provides students exposure to the most current knowledge in modern data management practices. 

Tuition & Expenses

Early Bird Rates:
$850 for AZA Individual Members 
$950 for Non-members 
Regular Rates:
$950 for AZA Individual Members 
$1050 for Non-members  

Early bird registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date
Final Registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

The AZA registration fee above covers only tuition for the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and meals. For more information about costs and logistics for courses hosted by Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV, visit our Wheeling Courses Travel Information page.

Scholarship funding is available through a competitive process.


Target Audience

This course is designed for records keepers, registrars, ZIMS users, curators, collection managers, records specialists, records managers, and information specialists.


None.  Priority will be given to individuals associated with AZA accredited institutions. If you are not employed by a zoo or aquarium, please submit a letter describing your interest in taking the course; instructors will then determine whether the class would suit your needs.  

Course Registration

Checks sent for course payment will be cashed immediately upon receipt as per standard business practices.  Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made.

Travel & Accommodations

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is the closest airport. Airport Limousine Plus and First Class Limo provide a shuttle service between PIT and the hotel.

Course participants stay at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia and classes meet on-site.

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

Course Topics & Instructors 

Topic 101: Getting to Know You – Good Communication                        Schwartz 
for the Records Keeper                                                                              
Basic communication skills – importance of personal approach 
Emotional Intelligence factors in effective communication 
Diversity game: Exploring differences in thinking style preferences 
Social networking  

Topic 102: Introduction: Records and Data                                                 Schwartz 
Status of biodiversity  
History and evolution of records-keeping 
AZA accreditation standards for data management   
Importance of sharing accurate data at institutional, regional, and global levels  

Topic 103: ZIMS – Getting Started                                                                  ISIS 
Introduction to ZIMS application – hosting and security information 
Printing and Exporting Specimen and Taxon Reports 

Topic104: Accessions/Dispositions in ZIMS                                                  Miller 
Initial accessions into ZIMS (excluding births) 
Differences of transactions between ZIMS versus non-ZIMS institutions 
Batch entries for accessions 
Data entry for all dispositions (excluding deaths) 

Topic 105: Accessions – Births/Hatches; Dispositions - Deaths              Souza 
Principles of birth accessions and death dispositions 
Data entry for birth accessions and death dispositions 
Pre-birth and Pre-hatch Accessions and Events 
Batch entries for births and deaths 

Topic 106: Organization of My Institution                                                         Miller 
Organizing your staff and creating Roles 
Teams and Departments 
Adding local institutions 
Institution and Individual Preferences 
Advanced Access Management and External Sharing 

Topic 107: Estimating Dates                                                                                 Souza 
When to use estimated dates  
How to select appropriate type of estimated date 

Topic 108: Enclosure Organization and Life Support Management              Miller 
Developing the Enclosure Tree 
Recording Enclosure Details 
Merging Enclosures (physical and data quality) 
Creating Life Supports 
Attaching components to Life Support 
Attaching Life Supports to enclosures 
Creating Measurement Range Templates 
Creating Batch Measurement Templates 

Topic 109: Transactions (between ISIS members)                                            Miller 
How to send and receive animals between ISIS members 
The pending transactions tab actions 
Receiver initiated transactions 

Topic 110: Animal Identifiers                                   McDuffie 
Recording Identifiers 
Creating and managing the Transponder Inventory 

Topic 111: Animal Measurements                          McDuffie 
Recording animal weights 
Recording animal lengths 

Topic 112: Notes and Observations;Note Templates                                         Souza 
Purpose of Notes and Observations  
Defining the difference between recording a Note or an Observation  
Developing templates for repeatedly used notes 

Topic 113: The Kitchen Sink - Feed Log, Sex and Contraception,                  
Collection Trips, and Animal and Enclosure Alerts                      Miller/McDuffie  
Tracking diet consumption in animal and enclosure Feeding Logs  
Defining and recording Sex Types and Contraception Types 
Tracking trips for collecting animals from the wild 
Alerts for special conditions, warnings, notifications  

Topic 114: Groups                                                                                                           Miller 
Individual versus Group versus Colony 
Methods of tracking 
Recording a Group Census 
Partial and Full Group Transactions 
Group Explorer 

Topic 115: Permits                             McDuffie 
Government agencies requiring permits 
Permitting procedures 
Tracking your permits  
Entering your permits into ZIMS 
Permit writing exercise and review 

Topic 116: Training and Event Log                Schwartz 
Creating behaviors and routines 
Tracking the status of a specific behavior  
Use of the Training Sessions Log 

Topic 117: Batch Entries                                                                                              Souza 
Recording similar information in multiple animal records and enclosures 
Your Animal/Enclosure Lists  
Simple Batch Entries 

Topic 118: Taxonomy                                                      Schwartz 
Taxonomic searches 
Importance of identification of species/subspecies and accurate data entry   
Local versus global taxonomic display 
Creating local synonyms 

Topic 119: Best Practices in Record Keeping                                McDuffie/Miller
Overview of general best practices                                                                               
Quality versus Quantity 
Development of a records management program 
Access to records by staff, public and the media  

Topic 120: Historical Records                                                                                     Miller 
Importance and uses of historical data 
Identify sources of historical records 
Recommended guidelines for entering historical data 

Topic 121: Population Management                                      Schwartz 
Importance,terms and theory, impact of data 
Regional zoo association species management programs: AZA SSP® 
Global species management programs 
Sustainability of populations through Population Management Programs 
One Plan Approach: integrating in situ and ex situ programs for species conservation  

Topic 122: Shipping Tips and Tricks                                    McDuffie 
Role of the records keeper in shipping 
Role of brokers and when to use them 
Paperwork required 

Topic 123: Reports and Tools                                                                                       ISIS 
Creating Reports other than Specimen and Taxon Reports 
Creating favorite filters 
Using the Tools Functions 


Josh Corteau, Training Manager
International Species Information System (ISIS)

Lynn McDuffie, Animal Records and Regulatory Affairs Manager  
Disney's Animal Kingdom/The Seas 

Adrienne Miller, Lead Subject Matter Expert and Training Content Developer
International Species Information System (ISIS)

Karin Schwartz, Adjunct Faculty
George Mason University

Mike Souza, Associate Registrar
San Diego Zoo Global


For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Program Manager or call (301) 562-0777 ext 251.