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Pedro is an application that creates data entry forms based on a data model written in a particular style of XML Schema. Users can enter data through the forms to create data files that conform to the schema. They can use controlled vocabularies to mark-up text fields and have the application perform basic validation on field data. When they feel they have finished writing a data file, Pedro can tell them if they have left out any required records.
Pedro can be used in two stages. In the first stage, it can be used to rapidly develop a data model. End-users can participate in the modelling process without knowing about UML or complex schemas. They can immediately give feedback to modellers by evaluating what form fields they would be willing to annotate during a work activity. Pedro supports the data modeller in creating context-sensitive help files that describe the model. The help files can be used to help communicate the meanings of records and fields to other users who did not participate in the modelling process.
At the end of a modelling activity, a community can evaluate Pedro as a data entry tool. If they don't like it, they can use the model to draft a concise specification of customised software that would better suit their needs. If they do like using the tool for data entry, they may want to enhance the model.
The modeller can associate controlled vocabulary services for each text field. End-users can access these services to annotate data sets with key words from standardised terminologies. Pedro also supports customised validation routines that can increase the integrity of the data being saved.
Pedro is a supported open-source data entry tool that principally exists to serve the proteomics community. However, its generic nature has made it appeal to other scientific areas such as genomics, Grid and Security. The feedback from these communities has been used to develop a better product for everybody. So far, none of the user requirements expressed by these different groups has compromised the needs of the proteomics community.
Pedro has proven popular with scientists and data modellers because it is simple to use. For data modelling, the application does not have as much flexibility as applications such as Protege. However, modellers can rapidly develop forms. For data entry, the application will not appear with as many features as other emerging commercial products. The development focus is on making a small collection of robust features that allow users to get on with the task of data entry.
To summarise, the benefits of Pedro are:
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