[tdwg-content] What I learned at the TechnoBioBlitz
Tim Robertson (GBIF)
trobertson at gbif.org
Mon Oct 11 14:00:23 CEST 2010
Thanks for taking the time to summarise this. A few comments inline:
On Oct 11, 2010, at 1:46 PM, joel sachs wrote:
> One of the goals of the recent bioblitz was to think about the
> and appropriatness of TDWG standards for citizen science. Robert
> has volunteered to take the lead on preparing a technobioblitz lessons
> learned document, and though the scope of this document is not yet
> determined, I think the audience will include bioblitz organizers,
> software developers, and TDWG as a whole. I hope no one is shy about
> sharing lessons they think they learned, or suggestions that they
> have. We
> can use the bioblitz google group for this discussion, and copy in
> tdwg-content when our discussion is standards-specific.
> Here are some of my immediate observations:
> 1. Darwin Core is almost exactly right for citizen science. However,
> is a desperate need for examples and templates of its use. To
> this need: one of the developers spoke of the design choice between "a
> simple csv file and a Darwin Core record". But a simple csv file is a
> legitimate representation of Darwin Core! To be fair to the developer,
> such a sentence might not have struck me as absurd a year ago, before
> Remsen said "let's use DwC for the bioblitz".
> We provided a couple of example DwC records (text and rdf) in the
> data profile . I think the lessons learned document should
> include an
> on-line catalog of cut-and-pasteable examples covering a variety of
> cases, together with a dead simple desciption of DwC, something like
> "Darwin Core is a collection of terms, together with definitions."
> Here are areas where we augemented or diverged from DwC in the
> i. We added obs:observedBy , since there is no equivalent
> property in
> DwC, and it's important in Citizen Science (though often not
Is this not the intention of recordedBy?
A list (concatenated and separated) of names of people, groups, or
organizations responsible for recording the original Occurrence. The
primary collector or observer, especially one who applies a personal
identifier (recordNumber), should be listed first.
> ii. We used geo:lat and geo:long  instead of DwC terms for
> latitude and
> longitude. The geo namespace is a well used and supported standard,
> records with geo coordinates are automatically mapped by several
Keeping an inventory of applications somewhere might be worthwhile to
help promote or decide on this.
> Since everyone was using GPS to retrieve their coordinates,
> we were able to assume WGS-84 as the datum.
> If someone had used another Datum, say XYZ, we would have added
> columns to
> the Fusion table so that they could have expressed their coordiantes
> DwC, as, e.g.:
> (I would argue that it should be kosher DwC to express the above as
> XYZ:lat and XYZ:long. DwC already incorporates terms from other
> namespaces, such as Dublin Core, so there is precedent for this.
> 2. DwC:scientificName might be more user friendly than
> and the other taxonomy machine tags EOL uses for flickr images. If
> DwC:scientificName isn't self-explanatory enough, a user can look it
> and see that any scientific name is acceptable, at any taxonomic
> rank, or
> not having any rank. And once we have a scientific name, higher
> ranks can
> be inferred.
> 3. Catalogue of Life was an important part of the workflow, but we
> had some problems with it. Future bioblitzes might consider using
> something like a CoL fork, as recently described by Rod Page .
> 4. We didn't include "basisOfRecord" in the original data profile,
> and so
> it wasn't a column in the Fusion Table . But when a transcriber
> felt it
> was necessary to include in order to capture data in a particular
> sheet, she just added the column to the table. This flexibility of
> is important, and is in harmony with the semantic web.
For citizen science, would it not make more sense to apply some easy
guideline to select one of:
Basis of record is one of the fundamental fields to know when
consuming content, so I think any effort to capture that at source
will be worthwhile in the long run.
> 5. There seemed to be enthusiasm for another field event at next
> TDWG. This could be an opportunity to gather other types of data (eg.
> character data) and thereby
> i) expose meeting particpants to another set of everyday problems
> from the
> world of biodiversity workflows, and ii) try other TDWG technology on
> for size, e.g. the observation exchange format, annotation
> framework, etc.
> Happy Thanksgiving to all in Canada -
> 1. http://groups.google.com/group/tdwg-bioblitz/web/tdwg-bioblitz-profile-v1-1
> 2. Slightly bastardizing our old observation ontology -
> 3. http://www.w3.org/2003/01/geo/
> 4. http://iphylo.blogspot.com/2010/10/replicating-and-forking-data-in-2010.html
> 5. http://tables.googlelabs.com/DataSource?dsrcid=248798
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> tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org
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