Efficient and accurate tracking of diverse data associated with research animal colonies is critical for biomedical research. The Jackson Laboratory Colony Management System (JCMS) is a software application developed specifically to meet the demand in the biomedical research community for a robust database system to support mouse-colony management. JCMS was released publicly in 2005 with support from the NIH as a free, supported research tool, and has proven to be a valuable community resource. Since its initial release the user base for the software has grown steadily and now forms a large international user community. The continued utility of JCMS requires further development of the system to support new science and colony-management and breeding protocols, enable research collaborations, exploit new technologies, extend its interoperability and scalability, and meet user-requested needs. We will focus specifically on adapting JCMS for use in multi-workgroup collaborations, move toward platform independence, improve scalability, and modify the architecture to make integration of the software with open source technologies (e.g., caBIG) more straightforward. We will implement a scalable application framework that will provide users with web-browser access and the capacity for simultaneous access to a single, secure database instance. The enhancements we envision for JCMS will facilitate data sharing, support intramural collaborations, promote the use of shared vocabularies, and lay the foundation for further interoperability and extensibility. We also will implement specific new features already requested, and will continue to receive, analyze, prioritize, and implement other user-requested features. Finally, we will expand our training and support mechanisms, as the growing use of and interest in JCMS has created a steady increase in the demand for user support.
TO PUBLIC HEALTH: Efficient and accurate tracking and sharing of the data associated with research animal colonies is critical to day-to-day operations of laboratories and to advancing biomedical research. The Jackson Laboratory Colony Management System (JCMS) meets a need in the research community for well-engineered software that can accommodate a wide range of animal husbandry and experimental approaches to using laboratory animals as models of human biology and disease. The proposed enhancements to JCMS are needed to address new scientific methods, meet changing research needs, incorporate new technologies, facilitate data sharing, support collaborative research, implement user-requested features, and expand training opportunities.