The software suite in the shipboard paleomagnetics laboratory is in transition from a poorly integrated set of independently written programs to a coordinated user-friendly system that is compatible with other shipboard laboratories. As ODP has progressed, new instruments have been added to the lab, older computer systems have been upgraded or completely replaced (such as the DEC PRO350 microcomputers once used extensively by the program), new computer workstations have been provided, and a local area network (LAN) has been installed. Many of the existing programs were donated or created under severe time and training limitations. As a result, the various pieces function adequately, but many contain deficiencies that stem from the incomplete integration of the various programs. Limitations and problems with the existing software have been identified by shipboard users, and a list of recommendations has accumulated. This combination of experience, software requirements, and technological advances has led to the design of the integrated software suite currently under development.

Software tasks for the shipboard paleomagnetics lab fall into four general categories:

1. Instrument control and data collection

2. Data manipulation and analysis

3. Data organization and storage

4. Data presentation

Currently, initial data acquisition is done by several different computers, and data are stored temporarily on diskettes. These diskettes are uploaded to the central VAX computer where further processing can take place. Some processing routines concatenate files into convenient units (for example, combining separate files for each section into a single file for each core), and others assign a preliminary sub-bottom depth value to each data point. Several programs are available for plotting data, and plots can be generated on a laser printer in the paleomagnetics lab.

Files formats and file-naming conventions (see Chapter 5 for further discussion) are organized to be compatible with the ODP database, which at present is a S1032 VAX-based system (and is intended to be replaced by a newer, more user-friendly database). The standard declination-inclination-intensity (DII) format is compatible with other ODP programs, such as DEPTHS."

As the software and database improvements are made, software in the paleomagnetics lab will change from leg to leg. When shipboard scientists board the JOIDES Resolution and meet the Marine Paleomagnetics Specialist, they will receive a copy of a User's Guide, updated at the end of each leg, that explains the software in the lab. An example of a User's Guide for the cryogenic magnetometer, current as of Leg 146, is provided as Appendix 7.