ZOO: A Desktop Experiment Management Environment
Over the last decade, a dramatic increase has been observed in the ability of individual experimental scientists to generate and store data, which has not been matched by an equivalent development of adequate data management tools. In this paper, we present the results of our efforts to develop a Desktop Experiment Management Environment that many experimental scientists would like to have on their desk. The environment is called ZOO and is developed in collaboration with domain scientists from Soil Sciences and Biochemistry. We first describe the overall architecture of ZOO, and then focus on key features of its various components. We specifically emphasize aspects of the object-oriented database server that is at the core of the system, the experimentation manager that initiates the execution of experiments as a result of scientists’ requests, and the mechanisms that the modules of the system use to communicate between them. Finally, we briefly discuss our experiences with the use of the current ZOO prototype in the context of plant-growth simulation experiments and NMR spectroscopy experiments.