Zephyr Technology Group develops high-performance custom databases for various non-profit and government clients. One such client is a non-profit organization who had a need for a Capabilities Database.
United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation (SP) works diligently to create connections between the diverse, high-performing workforce of the minority education community and private industry to address the nation’s imperatives. The goal of SP is to provide Minority Institutions (MIs) with capacity-building opportunities; the government and private industry with access to a talented and diverse workforce; and individuals with the experience, exposure, mentoring, and development they need to have successful and empowered careers.
- To develop a portal of diverse talent and resources available at US Institutions of Higher Learning.
- To build a robust database that provides detailed, current and timely information on institutional research, teaching and outreach capabilities.
- To develop a collaboration Portal that will help SP develop fruitful partnerships with MIs, research organizations, government agencies or private sector.
ZTG came up with the idea of building a Google like research database for SP. We divided the data structure into four major categories: Human Capital, Past Performance, Infrastructure and Institutions. We utilized as much publicly available information on the four categories mentioned above.
For Human Capital and Past Performance information, we gathered data from different Government Funding Agencies like the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Health and Human Services Department etc. For institutions, we utilized publicly available higher-ed database to get complete information on all US institutions of higher education. Once data collection was completed, ZTG started with designing the database in a manner that all data could be linked. Linking the data was a major challenge mainly due to the difference in data formats. However, we were able to successfully completed the task by converting the data in usable format across all available sources.
Apart from capturing the information from publicly available sources, ZTG provided the clients with ability to manually enter/edit the information across all categories.
The interface of the system was ”Google–like” with an ability to search across all the categories using a single search box and auto complete feature. With client’s limited resources ZTG was able to build a large capabilities database. ZTG made optimum use of resources available and came up with the best possible result.