Questions and Suggestions to the ongoing discussion

Michael Malicky m.malicky at LANDESMUSEUM.AT
Mon Sep 19 13:59:02 CEST 2005

Dear all!

Reading through the present discussion on the GUID topic has left me
somehow dissapointed about the whole thing,
because of the following reasons:

1) Before talking about the actual implementation of a new technology
into a product, one has to look on
the impact on the WHOLE life-cicle (including all major players in
the cicle) of the product! Just because of a better qualtity in one
production stage,
the porduct will NOT nessesarely gain, the whole product may even end
up worse! The implementation stage is
usually the very last of a whole series of developing stages!

2) IT technology is here to close the gap between men and machine by
enhancing programs to come closer to mens world, but
NOT by bringing men closer to computers!

3) Before we try to build in some fancy new things, just have a close
look, wether they are already there.

ad. 1)

Just to start a discussing my few of the whole product life cycle in
the databased specimen is roughly like this:

a) Growth of the specimen
b) Sampling of the specimen
c) Labeling of the specimen (locality, date, leg, etc.)
d) Conserving of the specimen
e) Determination
f) Digitisation (in house database)
g) Linking up the information to a database network
h) Analysis of the linked up specimen information
i) Revision (loop back to point f))

Just two simple question:
Where exactly should an artificial GUID be implemented? and
What is the potential impact on the rest of the product life-cicle?

ad. 2)

Learing a lot of latin names with a meaning is much more easy for
humans then to learn some obscure artificial codes.
Just try to rememeber 10 5 digit numbers! And no, not everybody is
eager to run around on a field trip equiped like
a high-tech soldier.

ad. 3)

Just a simple statement, as Peter already pointed out, by using
Linnean code carefully and with high quality within
our databases, we have already a working GUID in place! The thing
Linne has already invented. IMHO it is only a
question of database quality, whether the info given is a realy GUID
or only a part of it.

Therefore I have the following suggestions for the 1.5 Million $

1) Build a schema, that enforces better overall quality, but not only
in the taxon information.
Dealing with analysis tools in ENBI showed me some horrible
weeknesses. E.g. No one is enforced to
provide the info whether a record is specimen or observation based,
and the field, where this info can be
OPTIONALLY given is not standardised. Building analyze tools on the
top of such info is nearly impossible.
2) Help and convince database holders to raise the quality of their
3) Enhance the database wrappers to speed up the network (I had to
look into this for a GBIF Austria protal
and found out, that the software can be improved in terms of speed
just by rewriting some parts of it in C).

I am looking foreward for the further discussion on the topic with
great interest.

sincerely yours

Michael Malicky

DI Michael Malicky
System Administrator ZOBODAT
Biologiezentrum der Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseen
Johann Wilhelm Klein Str. 73
A-4040 Linz
Tel.: +43/732/759733/33 oder
Fax.: +43/732/759733/99

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