[Tdwg-tag] Why should data providers supply search and query services?
ram at cs.umb.edu
Mon Mar 6 14:27:01 CET 2006
Roger Hyam wrote:
> [...]The question is why there are not more data portals?
I would say that it is because so far, mainly low-hanging fruit has been
picked by the effort of the TDWG community. The number of relatively
large specimen and observation record providers is pretty small. The
providers are relatively large, have IT professionals on their staff and
have as part of their primary focus the disemination of their data.
Also, specimen records are mainly of interest to systematists, which are
a relatively small(?) fraction of practicing biologists. If I had to
make a (somewhat self-serving) guess, it would be that the largest
number of electronic data providers about species---including static web
pages--- are offering descriptive data, including images. Queries like
"What is this?" and "what is its role in the ecosystem?" probably are
asked by astronomically more consumers of biodiversity data than "where
is the type specimen?". Observation records may be some "midlevel
hanging fruit" for which the major providers share the IT sophistication
of specimen record providers. To the best of my knowledge, among the big
ones, only NatureServe and Cornell Lab For Ornithology are TDWG
participants. Is TAG listening to them?
In summary, I am slightly concerned that the experience with collection
data may have the power to cloud our minds about what biodiversity data
and its needed infrastructure are.
Robert A. Morris
Professor of Computer Science
phone (+1)617 287 6466
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