PROSPECT (Programmed Retrieval Of Species by the Property and End-use Classification of their Timbers) is a database containing the wood properties of tropical timbers; a recommendation was made by the 11 th Commonwealth Conference in 1980 that the Oxford Forestry Institute should develop a computer operated database drawing information from its extensive library records. Following this a three year project from 1981 till 1984 was funded by the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) of the British Government. The project employed a team of three people, headed by Dr. C. Goodwin-Bailey, who wrote a computer database program to operate on the Department's mini-computer which was the only machine at the time capable of running it. Data were abstracted from the literature and by the end of the project the information for some 1300 species had been recorded on cards; 900 of these had been entered into the database. At that stage no further funds were available to promote the use of the system although it was used internally and a limited number of enquiries were answered using information from it. Subsequently, in 1989, a decision was made to convert the package for use by IBM-compatible machines, which by then had developed sufficiently in processing power to be able to manage such large volumes of data.
Smith, J.P.; Plumptre, R.A.; Brazier, J.D.; Burclaff, V.T.; Dorey, C.E. "PROSPECT" for Improved Use of Tropical Timbers: a Guide to the Use of Lesser Known Timbers. (1994) 62 pp. ISBN 0 85074 129 7