Aug 21, 2014

PTAGIS Mark Data Coordinators and Projects

From the early days of the PIT Tag Information System (PTAGIS), the importance for data users to be able to obtain the context for mark, recapture and recovery (MRR) data has been recognized. This has been handled by linking all MRR data to a person and providing that person’s contact information along with the MRR data. Because PTAGIS is now a 27 year dataset, many of those people to whom data were originally linked are no longer available for various reasons such as retirement, changing jobs, etc. When personnel left, generally a new person took over for them and was assigned a new coordinator ID, but there has not been a method for linking data submitted by the previous coordinator with data submitted by the new coordinator. The solution, as decided by the PIT Tag Steering Committee, is to link MRR data to a project rather than a person.

A project has a single coordinator, the person who is currently responsible for collecting and submitting the MRR data to PTAGIS, but this coordinator can change as personnel move on. The history of coordinators is maintained, so that it is possible to see who was responsible at a specific period in time, but the goal is to always have a contact who is currently available and can answer questions about all data submitted for that project, even historic data. The possibility of including project metadata will also be explored in the future.

PTAGIS has been incrementally transitioning to this project-based model for a number of years, and another small step has recently been taken in the reporting system. Several of the attributes that can be used to filter on and display the tag data coordinator (AKA coordinator ID) for MRR data are being deprecated and new ones are being added to take their place,

The primary change is to the Mark Coordinator, Recap Coordinator, Mort Coordinator, and Event Coordinator attributes. These attributes report the 3-letter code and the name of the current coordinator of the project for which the MRR data was submitted. These are deprecated and replaced with Mark Data Project, Recap Data Project, Mort Data Project, and Event Data Project attributes, which will report the 3-letter code and the name of the project, as illustrated in the table below.

Deprecated Attribute  Deprecated Value  Replacement Attribute  New Data Value 
Mark Coordinator
Recap Coordinator
Mort Coordinator
Event Coordinator 
 3-letter code of the data project concatenated with the name of the current coordinator (e.g. MLS - Mark Shuck)  Mark Data Project
Recap Data Project
Mort Data Project
Event Data Project
 3-letter code of the data project concatenated with the project name (e.g. MLS - Mark Shuck Projects)

This may seem like a small change, but let’s look at the MLS code cited as an example in the table above. MLS was the original coordinator ID assigned to Mark Shuck back in 1996. When we began the transition to projects, MLS was given the project name Mark Shuck Projects, and the Mark Coordinator attribute became MLS – Mark Shuck. When Mark retired in 2013, Joe Bumgarner took over for him and the Mark Coordinator attribute became MLS – Joe Bumgarner. So, if a data user ran a report in 2012 using the Mark Coordinator attribute MLS – Mark Shuck, they would receive all the data submitted by Mark. That same report run after he retired would return zero results because the Mark Coordinator attribute had been changed to MLS – Joseph Bumgarner. By changing the attribute so it uses the project name, MLS – Mark Shuck Projects in this case, the data retriever won’t have to change the Mark Data Project attribute every time a new coordinator takes over the project. 

The contact information for the current coordinator of a project has been and will remain available through the Mark Coordinator Info attribute. This attribute shows the 3-letter code, coordinator’s name, email, phone, and current status (active or inactive). This information is also available on the Current Validation Codes page on the main PTAGIS website.

Deprecated attributes will still be available through the reporting system for at least a year, in order to give users the opportunity to change any automated process which may be linked to these attributes. They are marked as DEPRECATED in the attribute description, which you can see in the Query Builder 2 prompt pages, and are no longer selected by default to be included in Query Builder 2 reports.
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These changes in the reporting system require action on your part if any of your saved reports or subscriptions use the Mark Coordinator, Recap Coordinator, Mort Coordinator, or Event Coordinator as a filter. Unless you update these reports and subscriptions, the will return zero records the next time they are run. Please watch video #13 How To Update Reports and Subscriptions with Coordinator Changes on how to update your saved reports and subscriptions.

List of All Changes

Deprecated Attribute New Attribute  Comments 
Mark Coordinator  Mark Data Project Code - Project Name
Mark Coordinator Code  Mark Data Project Code  Code only
Mark Project  Mark Data Project Name  Project name 
 Recap Coordinator Recap Data Project Code - Project Name
 Recap Coordinator Code Recap Data Project Code  Code only 
Recap Project  Recap Data Project Name  Project name 
Mort Coordinator Mort Data Project  Code - Project Name 
Mort Coordinator Code Mort Data Project Code  Code only 
Mort Project  Mort Data Project Name  Project name 
Event Coordinator Event Data Project Code - Project Name 
Event Coordinator Code  Event Data Project Code  Code only 
Event Project  Event Data Project Name  Project name