Progress at the Database Since Newsletter 6 (March 1996)

Additions to the database: The database manager reported that 149 sites had been collected during the past year, mostly from central and eastern Europe, in connection with the PECO and INTAS projects which involve countries from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, respectively. In the framework of these cooperative projects, five scientists visited the EPD in 1996. The aim of their visit was "three fold": (1) to contribute new data, with complete information, to the EPD (2) to establish reliable depth/age chronologies for each pollen record (3) to familiarize themselves with some of the EPD software. The following scientists visited the EPD:

Of the 149 new sites, 27 are restricted and 122 unrestricted, and 42 cover the whole period from the late-glacial to the present. From henceforth all data from Bulgaria are unrestricted and a large proportion of those from Lithuania. Some new sites are available from the Black Sea and continental shelf, but have not yet been incorporated because they represent marine environments.The EPD currently contains approximately 750 sites, of which 17 are Eemian. The coverage of sites within Europe is still very uneven and the lack of sites from Germany is noticeable. It is hoped that the DFG programme, "Changes in the Geobiosphere During the Last 15 000 years", will stimulate the flow of data to the EPD. Emphasis in the coming year will be on obtaining data from sites in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Serbia and in encouraging the contribution of data from the sites referred to in the recently published volume: Berglund et al. (1996) Palaeoecological events during the last 15000 years.

Requests for data from the Database: EPD data are available in Tilia, ASCII, and Paradox format from Internet (WWW and FTP) servers at the WDC-A for Paleoclimatology in Boulder and its mirror at Medias-France in Toulouse. Most users download data directly from these locations. A relatively small number of individuals have requested data on diskettes directly from the database manager. These diskettes include the restricted data, as opposed to the Internet servers, which distribute only the unrestricted data. In 1996, the database manager received no specific requests for restricted data. Diskettes are currently distributed free of charge along with a copy of the EPD protocols, which state that restricted data cannot be used without the principal investigator’s permission. In future, a charge to cover the basic costs of producing the diskettes will be made. This fee may, however, be waived at the discretion of the database manager, e.g. for data contributors.

Spreading the word about the EPD: The EPD is now well-known, and has been used as a template for the development of other databases (see below, The North-east England Pollen Database). Nevertheless, it is important to remind the palaeoclimate and palaeoecological communities of its existence and potential application in research projects. During the past year, the database manager, Rachid Cheddadi, made presentations concerning the EPD at:

The Alpine Database: ALPADABA Funding for ALPADABA has now come to an end, although the work is not yet complete, and some unfunded work is continuing. ALPADABA contains 132 sites and participants in the project are now developing papers based on the database. The ALPADABA database will not be incorporated en bloc in the EPD, instead the individual scientists who have contributed will be given the option of having their data transferred and will be encouraged to do so. Four sites have been transferred to date.

The pre Holocene and Weichselian late-glacial part of the EPD: As reported in the last newsletter, funding for the collection of interglacial data has ended. Data collected through these projects are still to be fully incorporated in the EPD, as are the long Pleistocene sequences that were contributed during 1996.