[Tdwg-tag] Why should data providers supply search and query services?

Javier de la Torre jatorre at gmail.com
Mon Mar 6 11:14:22 CET 2006


There are many reason why I think data providers should be more  
capable than just simple interfaces to indexers. Some of them have  
been already pointed by Markus and Bob, but I would like to use to a  
non-technical reason and very related to what TDWG is good for.

While making the biological collection databases available for GBIF  
indexing I think we are also helping them in their daily work. Some  
databases are setting up their own web interface based on BioCASe,  
there are projects to help them geoloreference their specimens based  
on the provider software, they have the possibility to export their  
collection database and import it into another collection management  
software, and many other useful possibilities that will hopefully  
appear in the next years. These solutions are possible because the  
software installed on their servers is capable of doing searches and  
So here my argument is that: by setting up a query level and  
installing a capable software on the providers directly we are  
improving these databases.

I have used this argument for a while already when convincing data  
providers: by joining GBIF they are not just only making their data  
available to the community but that they will also benefit of the  
tools that are appearing for them based on TDWG standards. I think it  
is a good deal, make your data available and we will help you to  
improve it with standard tools from the community for no cost.

There is also many people who do not want to share their data,  
specially researches, and that can also benefit from our software and  
standards  without having to participate in any network. If we create  
good and useful software they might consider using it to handle their  
data and at some point maybe open it to the public.

This is also somehow related to what I call the OAI "model" versus  
the OGC "model". The OAI is helping and promoting the accessibility  
to data in distributed  databases while the OGC is an organism just  
promoting the interoperability of applications.
While the OAI is focus on making the accessibility to the data as  
good as possible (to set up value-added services on top of cache  
databases) the OGC community is working on making software  
interoperable, extensible and open to new uses that they might not  
know now.

I want to think that GBIF is like the OAI and that instead of  
creating their own technology to achieve their goals is using TDWG. I  
tend to think of TDWG more like OGC in the other hand. So, GBIF is  
just one user of TDWG work.

So my vote goes for more sophisticated  data providers that allow us  
to construct more things on top of them without having to consider  
GBIF at all.
TAPIR looks fine to me for this task, even more if complemented with  
the TAPIR "Lite" idea for  providers that just want to contribute to  

Best regards,


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