[tdwg-content] What I learned at the TechnoBioBlitz

Markus Döring m.doering at mac.com
Mon Oct 11 16:35:58 CEST 2010

This seems to match the definition of the collectors field number:

A slightly broader one is the eventID that usually groups several observations, e.g. when recording a plot:


On Oct 11, 2010, at 16:22, Bryan wrote:

> Another element is a link between images, sound or whatever and the
> observation. This is useful since, at least for a time these media
> items are independent of the main observation. All information about
> the same object at the same time and place should be linked by an
> event identifier. In collections work this might be the collectors
> sequence number but any number/string such as Heidorn-20100915-215
> that is unique to the item would be fine. It would be associated with
> the main entry, images, sound or other records. In flickr this could
> be put into a tag. Some cameras allow prefix and auto increment of a
> trailing number which would work. Field observation tools could do the
> same and on paper it could be Observer+Date+SequenceNumber or anything
> else.
> -- Bryan
> On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 6:25 AM, joel sachs <jsachs at csee.umbc.edu> wrote:
>> Katie,
>> I entered your email at the bottom of
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>> and clicked "Unsubscribe or edit options". I then clicked "Unsubscribe" on
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>> Joel.
>> On Mon, 11 Oct 2010, k.flanagan at etoncollege.org.uk wrote:
>>> Please could you tell unsubscribe me from this list? I've tried following the unsubscribe instructions from the website but that hasn't worked.
>>> Thank you,
>>> Katie
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Tim Robertson (GBIF)
>>> Sent: 11 October 2010 13:00
>>> To: joel sachs
>>> Cc: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org; tdwg-bioblitz at googlegroups.com
>>> Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] What I learned at the TechnoBioBlitz
>>> Hi Joel,
>>> 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 suitability
>>> and appropriatness of TDWG standards for citizen science. Robert Stevenson
>>> 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, there
>>> is a desperate need for examples and templates of its use. To illustrate
>>> 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 bioblitz
>>> data profile [1]. I  think the lessons learned document should include an
>>> on-line catalog of cut-and-pasteable examples covering a variety of use
>>> 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 bioblitz:
>>> i. We added obs:observedBy [2], since there is no equivalent property in
>>> DwC, and it's important in Citizen Science (though often not available).
>>> Is this not the intention of recordedBy?
>>> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/#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 [3] instead of DwC terms for latitude and
>>> longitude. The geo namespace is a well used and supported standard, and
>>> records with geo coordinates are automatically mapped by several
>>> applications.
>>> 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 in
>>> DwC, as, e.g.:
>>> DwC:decimalLatitude=41.5
>>> DwC:decimalLongitude=-70.7
>>> DwC:geodeticDatum=XYZ
>>> (I would argue that it should be kosher DwC to express the above as simply
>>> 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 taxonomy:binomial
>>> and the other taxonomy machine tags EOL uses for flickr images.  If
>>> DwC:scientificName isn't self-explanatory enough, a user can look it up,
>>> 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].
>>> 4. We didn't include "basisOfRecord" in the original data profile, and so
>>> it wasn't a column in the Fusion Table [5]. But when a transcriber felt it
>>> was necessary to include in order to capture data in a particular field
>>> sheet, she just added the column to the table. This flexibility of schema
>>> 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:
>>> - HumanObservation
>>> - PreservedSpecimen
>>> - LivingSpecimen
>>> (http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/wiki/RecordLevelTerms)
>>> 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 year's
>>> 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 -
>>> Joel.
>>> ----
>>> 1. http://groups.google.com/group/tdwg-bioblitz/web/tdwg-bioblitz-profile-v1-1
>>> 2. Slightly bastardizing our old observation ontology -
>>> http://spire.umbc.edu/ontologies/Observation.owl
>>> 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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> -- 
> Bryan Heidorn
> University of Arizona
> http://www.sirls.arizona.edu/heidorn
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