Hardware: Originally developed and run on a Commodore 8096 microcomputer, with additional development work carried out on a BBC Model B microcomputer. Later run on networked PCs in the Truro Animal Health Office; it had also been in use in other West Country offices.
Operating System: The latest version of the system was run under MS-DOS; earlier versions probably ran under CBM DOS (Commodore 8096) and Acorn MOS (BBC Model B).
Application Software: The Bovine TB application, known as"TB Maps & Stats", was developed using the BASIC programming language.
User Interface: The original application comprised several discrete program modules which were accessed by a compiled QBasic menu front end. The original modules included: badger data input; IR TB60 form generation; cattle data entry and updating; TB mapping; TB statistics; parish data updating; and a search module.
Logical structure and schema: The series includes three datasets: the TB Herd database, holding data on the incidence of TB in cattle herds in Devon and Cornwall; the Badger database, holding data on West Country badgers and their post-mortem results; and a Parish database holding data on test intervals in Cornish parishes. The original system was a program system constructed from a number of program modules. There were originally four databases: (1) TB Herd database; (2) Cattle database; (3) Badger database; (4) Parish database. Data from the four separate databases were combined by the different programs to produce the program output.
How data was originally captured and validated: The TB Maps & Stats system began with information collected about badgers; Roger Sainsbury wrote a program in 1982 to produce an output, in tabular form, of badgers and their post-mortem results which had been examined by Veterinary Officers from around tuberculosis breakdown farms.
In 1983, mapping capability was added to the basic badger data. Dr Sainsbury wrote a further program to plot the badger data onto schematic maps covering an area around the breakdown farms. Maps used for investigations by the Animal Health Division at that time were either OS Maps with additional information drawn onto them, or hand-drawn maps which were potentially inaccurate. TB maps were needed in the field, at progress review meetings, and for head office and regional use.
The resulting OUTPUT program was used with success, and maps covering TB farms were produced for vets in Cornwall and Devon for nearly 20 years. From here, a further series of programs were written which constructed a cattle database, in response to the need for TB cattle herds to be included on the maps. The program which generated the maps was modified to access the data to find relevant herds, which were in turn added to the maps.
Data was entered using DOS screen forms created using QBasic. Online instructions were provided, including indicators of valid data for some fields; some validation of data took place during data entry.
Cattle data was input by the TB section at the Animal Health Office, when a TB60 PM sheet was being prepared. The data captured at this point was used to produce the TB Herd database and the cattle database. The information about parishes was input at a very early stage, and was rarely modified. The badger data was input separately, although there were discussions to find a way to transfer badger data electronically from the MAFF badger system.
The system enabled the printout of maps or data lists, on paper, to be used by Veterinary Officers in the field. Among the possible outputs were data about a series of reactors, schematic maps, the TB history of a location or particular farm, parish lists, TB statistics, and some data analysis.
Validation performed after transfer: Details of the content and transformation validation checks performed by NDAD staff on the Bovine TB dataset are contained in the catalogues of individual datasets.