About the Database
The Merck and Texas Tech University North American TBA Implant Database is a joint project between the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University and Merck. Initial work on the database began in late Summer, 1998, with nearly 10 months required to conduct the literature searches and write the SQL/Visual Basic database code needed to produce the existing searchable database. Although transparent to the user, the code required for the server to run the search and summarize functions of the database is massive.
The objective of the database is to provide implant users with a convenient tool for examining the results of experiments conducted with the implants currently used by the feedlot industry. Results returned by each search include typical animal performance and carcass information. The bulk of the feedlot experiments included in the existing database were conducted after 1987, the time at which estrogen–TBA implants became available to feedlot cattle producers. Because the use of implants in non-confined production systems is important, however, data from experiments with grazing cattle also were included in the database.
Using the database is simple. After completing the log in process, the user can conduct a search of database entries in three main categories: 1) Single Implant Studies, in which only one implant was administered during a feeding period; 2) Multiple Implant Studies, in which two or more implants were administered during a feeding period; and 3) Pasture Implant Studies. Within each of the first two categories, the user must choose whether to search within data from steer or heifer experiments. In the Pasture Implant Studies, sex can be used as a search criterion. Once a category has been selected, the user must choose one of two options: Search and Browse the Data or Search and Summarize the Data.
In the Search and Browse the Data mode, the system will return data from experiments in which any of the implants checked in the search form are present. In many cases, not all the implants checked in the search form would be present in a given experiment, and some implants that were not checked would be returned. In essence, all the implant treatments for an article that contains at least one of the implants checked on the search form will be displayed. Further refinements of the search can be achieved by limiting the search to specified ranges in average daily gain, days on feed, and so on.
In the Search and Summarize the Data mode, the system will return data only when the implants checked on the search form are present in the same experiment. Because the Search and Summarize mode returns weighed averages of implant treatments, the system is designed to prevent the user from generating such averages unless the specific implant comparison(s) were made in a given experiment. In the Single Implant Studies and Pasture Implant Studies databases, the user can pick two or three implants for the search; however, the Search and Summarize mode is unique for the Multiple Implant Studies database. In the Multiple Implant Studies database, the user can pick up to three implant programs to compare, where an implant program is an initial and final implant combination. In both the Single and Multiple Implant Studies databases, weighted averages are based on the number of pens per implant treatment. In the Pasture implant database, weighting is based on the number of animals per implant treatment. Further refinement of these weighted averages is possible by clicking on articles returned by the search and averaging only the selected articles.
The existing database is in its infancy. New data are continually being summarized for input as they become available. Efforts are underway to provide Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (pdf) files for each article in the database as a means of allowing the user to garner even greater detail from individual articles.
User input is vital to the success of the database. Although, help information and tool tips are located throughout various the search forms, suggestions or comments from users for ways to improve the functionality of the database and articles that need to be included in the various sub-databases are greatly appreciated. Please send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Merck & Texas Tech University North American TBA Implant Database
AddressDepartment of Animal and Food Sciences