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About The Pterosaur Database

Website History

The Pterosaur Database was set up as a not-for-profit website to provide basic information about fossil pterosaurs and was specifically aimed at academics, students and fossil enthusiasts.  The site was set up by Paul Pursglove who is a retired teacher and examiner of Biology and Geology having over 40 years experience with pterosaur fossils.

In the Spring of 1979 The Pterosaur Database was originally a box file full of pterosaur information compiled by Paul to help with research on fossil pterosaurs within museum collections . This research lead to a listing of museum specimen holdings within the UK and a collection of papers and related material.

In 1994, some of the material was put on-line, hosted by America On-Line (AOL Internet) as www.pterosaur.org. This initial website included museum collection information and a species listing. By 2002, a number of example scientific papers and translations were put on-line, some of which had not been seen as English text before.  A school site was also established in response to questions from younger students.

The AOL site had issues with Bandwidth and downtime and in October 2003 the site was moved to NTL World. AOL would not release the URL for transfer, so in November 2003 the website was re-launched as www.pterosaur.co.uk.

As the NTL web space was limited the website was mirrored on 1and1 Internet in November 2003. The URL was transferred at that time. At about the time that NTL World was merged with Virgin Media, around February 2007, The Pterosaur Database was re-designed to reduce the page clicks, having drop down menus and acrobat document download pages. This step was taken to limit plagiarism of the data and image content by students , especially where The Pterosaur Database published with permission, rather than being the copyright holder.

Pterosaur Topics was added to the website in 2008 based on a compilation of web E-mail questions from  2000 to 2008.  This has reduced the number of e-mail questions received by over 60%.  Most of the queries now come from museums,  university students, fossil collectors and academic researchers.

In February 2012, 1and1 Internet migrated the web content to a new 2008 SQL server and the database software refused updates. With 1and1 servers in Germany and a support service moved to the Philippines, no longer having a direct connection to the server administration, the problems remained unresolved for 5 months.

The website was moved to UK Web Hosting (Enix Ltd.) in June 2012 with a new URL, www.pterosaur.org.uk . This move required a re-write of parts of the website to enable it to run on the UK Web Hosting servers.  This new website was fully running by August 2012.  The existing  web address www.pterosaur.co.uk was moved from 1and1 in July 2012.

Database information was installed on a Sequel (SQL) Server with on-line access via .php enabled web pages.  The data can be searched and the search facilities were fully functional by the end of 2012.  Having full access to the server permitted live amendment of data, and a parallel database has been set up to allow users to add more data for verification and inclusion.

Dropdown menus have been removed from the website generally, to enable the new generation tablet PCs with Android operating systems but limited java control to benefit from the page links.  The Acrobat format scientific papers have also been restructured to open on Kindle readers and tablet PC's.

In April 2013 the database files were updated to conform to the then current consensus of classification and the data was cleansed to remove duplicate entries and blank datasets.  This was done to ensure that the data was as accurate as possible prior to the introduction of new legislation which will allow the government repositories to archive web pages and web content throughout the UK.

UK Web Hosting (Enix Ltd.) who host the Pterosaur Database were part of a dual hosting company.  They merged the two companies by 2014 and now operate under the trade name Host Presto.  The service and server access is unchanged and this service is an excellent host with easy access support.

With the release of .uk domains, the Pterosaur Database purchased www.pterosaur.uk on a preferential option.  This was linked to the pterosaur database site in December 2014.

Updating of the system is continuous and contributors can add data to the parallel databases for inclusion in the main data set.  

Dec 2014