The MINFILE CODING MANUAL is a guide for completing the MINFILE coding form (Appendix XII) and for entering information into the MINFILE database. This manual, which follows the general format and sequence of the MINFILE/pc input screens, explains the type, limitation, and format of data required for input into the MINFILE database.
There are 3 ways to collect and input data into the MINFILE database. One is to fill in a MINFILE coding form with the appropriate information and then enter this information on the computer. The second way is to skip the coding form and enter the data directly on the computer. Finally, you can generate a MINFILE Master Report and indicate the appropriate changes on the hard copy print out (this obviously won’t work for new occurrences).
Data fields can be mandatory or optional, depending on how critical the field is to maintaining relationships within the database. In this manual and on the coding form, mandatory fields are denoted by an asterisk(*) and must be completed. The field headings in this manual also list the corresponding relational file name (e.g. R02 for Status description) and code table name (e.g. E02 for Status code). Data is indicated on the coding form by checking an appropriate box or filling in the blank. Appendix XI is a summary of data field characteristics.
Most of the data fields are stored as codes. For example, BIOTITE is stored as BOIT. These are efficient for storage in a relational database and for searches. These codes and their translations are controlled by the Code Tables. Most of the Tables in the MINFILE system are "closed". This means that to enter the mineral BIOTITE it must already exist in the Code Tables. The description must be entered in the exact format it is entered in the Code Table, otherwise the computer will reject the input.
In MINFILE/pc, Proximity Scan and "pick lists" help you to select the correct description from valid entries; the data is automatically stored as the appropriate code. The MINFILE/pc program has built-in error checking and prevents misspelled technical words from being entered. New items can be added to the Code Tables, if required. The tables are updated by the Database Administrator on a regular basis.
Once information is entered into the MINFILE database, the coding forms for all new occurrences will be retained. For new occurrences entered on the computer a Master Report must be generated when the information is complete, and submitted to the MINFILE Team. Before deleting an occurrence, a Master Report must be generated and on it must be written DELETED, the reason for the deletion, the date of deletion and the name of the person requesting the deletion. The Master Report should then be submitted to the MINFILE Team. All new and deleted occurrences must have a hard copy record for archival purposes. See Appendix X for the recommended coding and editing guidelines.