Human-animal studies database opens to public - Purdue Exponent: Campus

Human-animal studies database opens to public

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Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:00 am

A database created through Purdue aims to help researchers outside of the university in their studies involved with human-animal bond studies.

HABRI Central, a program funded by the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation, is a database that provides free access to research papers and journal articles related to the field of human-animal relational bonds.

The site is hosted by HUBzero, a collaborative platform created at Purdue for the nanotechnology community.

Alan Beck, the director of the new program, said he hopes the website will be used to help improve studies that are being performed outside of the collegiate setting.

“A lot of the human-animal bond research community is located outside of academia,” Beck said. “By making academic resources available to them, we can improve the studies being done within the field.”

The website is similar to Purdue’s online library system and allows free search and access to research and journal articles concerning human-animal bond research.

Articles include studies on animal behavior, the relationship humans share with animals and the benefits of the connection, as well as information useful to therapeutic programs.

Through the platform, visitors are able to search and use tags to find and categorize useful information. Furthermore, visitors who create a username are able to start collaborative groups and hold secure conversations to share information and cooperate on research.

“With all of these options, the program is not just an informative site but a truly collaborative resource,” Beck said.

Since launching March 1, the site has generated over 12,000 papers and has attracted visitors from over 50 countries.

Charles Watkinson, the director of Purdue University Press, worked closely with Beck to set up the system used for the website.

He said the program is designed to provide the traditional searching experience found on Purdue’s library pages. As the site grows, Watkinson said he plans to make the site more user friendly by improving the ease of searching, tagging and interacting.

Eventually, Watkinson said he plans for the site to host a new journal for original publishing, thus contributing new content to the research field.

Watkinson said he hopes the site will not just be used by researchers, but also by those actively working to improve lives through human-animal bonding.

“Ideally, I’d hope that someone perhaps involved with assisted therapy dogs in hospices, (someone) who works far away from a university setting, will find something that will help them make their programs better,” Watkinson said.

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