MARRS, or the MUFON Anomaly Research and Reporting System, is the culmination of several years of trying to find the best online database to store MUFON’s half-century of case reports and paper files. It was demonstrated live last month to the State Directors at the MUFON Symposium in Las Vegas, NV. There are several criteria that needed to be satisfied before finding the perfect computer software that would become MARRS.
These capabilities include the need to be content searchable on keywords and phrases to allow easy retrieval of all documents pertaining to a given search parameter. It also needed to be easy to use with a friendly user interface similar to Windows and the Windows file structure that most everyone knows. Finally, it had to have the capability for someone to be able to download and print any document that had been retrieved. These criteria were used to search hundreds of options, including developing the system ourselves, before we ultimately landed on just the right software fit for MARRS.
Now that the online repository has been selected, the hard part begins: pouring in 9,000 Pandora files, 85,000 Case Management System (CMS) files, and many, many more that exist at MUFON headquarters in both digitized and paper form. A team of volunteers is at this moment working very hard to enter, clean-up, and redact sensitive witness information in our Pandora files before making them available for MUFON researchers worldwide. This will be the first time they have been made available on a widespread basis since we began collecting UFO information in 1969.
If you have an interest in participating in this project, please contact Ken St. John at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for volunteers who have a background and experience as an FI, are familiar with directories and computer file structures, and enjoy playing the role of an archivist. The user interface for MARRS looks very similar to the Windows file structure most of us are familiar with. In addition, there is a need at MUFON headquarters for a volunteer or two who would like to scan documents using OCR into the new database. We have many boxes and file cabinets full of UFO information we’d like to see digitized and made available to our MUFON members. Again, please let us know if you’re interested!