International Species Information System (ISIS): over 25 years of compiling global animal data to facilitate collection and population management



In 1973 the International Species Inventory System (ISIS), a computer-based information system for wild animals maintained in captivity, was established at Minnesota Zoological Garden. By 1989 ISIS (now called the International Species Information System) was an independent organization with a Board of Trustees. Membership of ISIS has increased steadily and at time of writing the pooled database includes information on over 322 000 live tetrapod specimens, over 134 000 fishes (many in groups), plus a larger number of their ancestors, at 595 institutions in 68 countries on six continents. ISIS produces routine pooled inventories and other reports on request and three software tools for personal computers have been developed: arks (Animal Records Keeping System) for maintaining basic specimen records, MedARKS (Medical Animal Records Keeping System) for veterinary records and sparks (Single Population Animal Records Keeping System) for veterinary records, studbooks, genetic and demographic analyses, and Speces Survival Plans. Having collected data for over 25 years, ISIS is also a highly credibile source of information from the zoological community for use by international conventions and regulatory bodies.