[tdwg-tapir] Fwd: Tapir protocol - Harvest methods? [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Roger Hyam (TDWG) rogerhyam at mac.com
Wed May 14 11:57:20 CEST 2008

Generally if we are going to have csv files for data transfer we don't  
need to have software implementations just some documentation on what  
the csv files should contain. Something along the lines of:

1) Make a report from your database as a csv file(s) with the  
following columns...
2) Zip it up.
3) Either put it on a webserver and send us  the URL or upload it  
using this webform.

We don't need to bother with TAPIR etc. You could even only produce a  
CSV file of the records that have changed so big data sets needn't be  
a problem.

I worry that we are working out how to move data about quickly and  
forgetting that the real goal is to integrate data and that will only  
come if people have GUIDs on the stuff they own and use other peoples  
GUIDs in their data.  Solutions based around CSV files do nothing to  
move people in that direction and I would suspect lead to making  
matters worse.

Finding ourselves in  hole digging quicker may not be the best option.


Roger Hyam
Roger at BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK
Tel: +44 131 552 7171 ext 3015
Fax: +44 131 248 2901

On 14 May 2008, at 10:21, Markus Döring wrote:

> Interesting that we all come to the same conclusions...
> The trouble I had with just a simple flat csv file is repeating
> properties like multiple image urls. ABCD clients dont use ABCD just
> because its complex, but because they want to transport this
> relational data. We were considering 2 solutions to extending this csv
> approach. The first would be to have a single large denormalised csv
> file with many rows for the same record. It would require knowledge
> about the related entities though and could grow in size rapidly. The
> second idea which we think to adopt is allowing a single level of 1-
> many related entities. It is basically a "star" design with the core
> dwc table in the center and any number of extension tables around it.
> Each "table" aka csv file will have the record id as the first column,
> so the files can be related easily and it only needs a single
> identifier per record and not for the extension entities. This would
> give a lot of flexibility while keeping things pretty simple to deal
> with. It would even satisfy the ABCD needs as I havent yet seen anyone
> requiring 2 levels of related tables (other than lookup tables). Those
> extensions could even be a simple 1-1 relation, but would keep things
> semantically together just like a xml namespace. The darwin core
> extensions would be good for example.
> So we could have a gzipped set of files, maybe with a simple metafile
> indicating the semantics of the columns for each file.
> An example could look like this:
> # darwincore.csv
> 102    Aster alpinus subsp. parviceps    ...
> 103    Polygala vulgaris    ...
> # curatorial.csv
> 102    Kew Herbarium
> 103    Reading Herbarium
> # identification.csv
> 102    2003-05-04    Karl Marx    Aster alpinus L.
> 102    2007-01-11    Mark Twain    Aster korshinskyi Tamamsch.
> 102    2007-09-13    Roger Hyam    Aster alpinus subsp. parviceps
> Novopokr.
> 103    2001-02-21    Steve Bekow    Polygala vulgaris L.
> I know this looks old fashioned, but it is just so simple and gives us
> so much flexibility.
> Markus
> On 14 May, 2008, at 24:39, Greg Whitbread wrote:
>> We have used a very similar protocol to assemble the latest AVH  
>> cache.
>> It should be noted that this is an as-well-as protocol that only  
>> works
>> because we have an established semantic standard (hispid/abcd).
>> greg
>> trobertson at gbif.org wrote:
>>> Hi All,
>>> This is very interesting too me, as I came up with the same
>>> conclusion
>>> while harvesting for GBIF.
>>> As a "harvester of all records" it is best described with an  
>>> example:
>>> - Complete Inventory of ScientificNames: 7 minutes @ the limited 200
>>> records per page
>>> - Complete Harvesting of records:
>>> - 260,000 records
>>> - 9 hours harvesting duration
>>> - 500MB TAPIR+DwC XML returned (DwC 1.4 with geospatial and
>>> curatorial
>>> extensions)
>>> - Extraction of DwC records from harvested XML: <2 minutes
>>> - Resulting file size 32MB, Gzipped to <3MB
>>> I spun hard drives for 9 hours, and took up bandwidth that is paid
>>> for, to
>>> retrieve something that could have been generated provider side in
>>> minutes
>>> and transferred in seconds (3MB).
>>> I sent a proposal to TDWG last year termed "datamaps" which was
>>> effectively what you are describing, and I based it on the Sitemaps
>>> protocol, but I got nowhere with it.  With Markus, we are making  
>>> more
>>> progress and I have spoken with several GBIF data providers about a
>>> proposed new standard for full dataset harvesting and it has been
>>> received
>>> well.  So Markus and I have started a new proposal and have a
>>> working name
>>> of 'Localised DwC Index' file generation (it is an index if you
>>> have more
>>> than DwC data, and DwC is still standards compliant) which is
>>> really a
>>> GZipped Tab file dump of the data, which is slightly extensible.   
>>> The
>>> document is not ready to circulate yet but the benefits section  
>>> reads
>>> currently:
>>> - Provider database load reduced, allowing it to serve real
>>> distributed
>>> queries rather than "full datasource" harvesters
>>> - Providers can choose to publish their index as it suits them,
>>> giving
>>> control back to the provider
>>> - Localised index generation can be built into tools not yet
>>> capable of
>>> integrating with TDWG protocol networks such as GBIF
>>> - Harvesters receive a full dataset view in one request, making it
>>> very
>>> easy to determine what records are eligible for deletion
>>> - It becomes very simple to write clients that consume entire
>>> datasets.
>>> E.g. data cleansing tools that the provider can run:
>>> -  Give me ISO Country Codes for my dataset
>>>    -  The application pulls down the providers index file,
>>> generates ISO
>>> country code, returns a simple table using the providers own
>>> identifier
>>> - Check my names for spelling mistakes
>>>   - Application skims over the records and provides a list that
>>> are not
>>> known to the application
>>> - Providers such as UK NBN cannot serve 20 million records to the
>>> GBIF
>>> index using the existing protocols efficiently.
>>> - They have the ability to generate a localised index however
>>> - Harvesters can very quickly build up searchable indexes and it is
>>> easy
>>> to create large indices.
>>> - Node Portal can easily aggregate index data files
>>> - true index to data, not an illusion of a cache. More like Google
>>> sitemaps
>>> It is the ease at which one can offer tools to data providers that
>>> really
>>> interests me.  The technical threshold required to produce services
>>> that
>>> offer reporting tools on peoples data is really very low with this
>>> mechanism.  This and the fact that large datasets will be
>>> harvestable - we
>>> have even considered the likes of bit-torrent for the large ones
>>> although
>>> I think this is overkill.
>>> As a consumer therefore I fully support this move as a valuable
>>> addition
>>> to the wrapper tools.
>>> Cheers
>>> Tim
>>> (wrote the GBIF harvesting, and new to this list)
>>>> Begin forwarded message:
>>>>> From: "Aaron D. Steele" <eightysteele at gmail.com>
>>>>> Date: 13 de mayo de 2008 22:40:09 GMT+02:00
>>>>> To: tdwg-tapir at lists.tdwg.org
>>>>> Cc: Aaron Steele <asteele at berkeley.edu>
>>>>> Subject: Re: [tdwg-tapir] Tapir protocol - Harvest methods?
>>>>> at berkeley we've recently prototyped a simple php program that
>>>>> uses
>>>>> an existing tapirlink installation to periodically dump tapir
>>>>> resources into a csv file. the solution is totally generic and can
>>>>> dump darwin core (and technically abcd schema, although it's
>>>>> currently
>>>>> untested). the resulting csv files are zip archived and made
>>>>> accessible using a web service. it's a simple approach that has
>>>>> proven
>>>>> to be, at least internally, quite reliable and useful.
>>>>> for example, several of our caching applications use the web
>>>>> service
>>>>> to harvest csv data from tapirlink resources using the following
>>>>> process:
>>>>> 1) download latest csv dump for a resource using the web service.
>>>>> 2) flush all locally cached records for the resource.
>>>>> 3) bulk load the latest csv data into the cache.
>>>>> in this way, cached data are always synchronized with the
>>>>> resource and
>>>>> there's no need to track new, deleted, or changed records. as an
>>>>> aside, each time these cached data are queried by the caching
>>>>> application or selected in the user interface, log-only search
>>>>> requests are sent back to the resource.
>>>>> after discussion with renato giovanni and john wieczorek, we've
>>>>> decided that merging this functionality into the tapirlink  
>>>>> codebase
>>>>> would benefit the broader community. csv generation support would
>>>>> be
>>>>> declared through capabilities. although incremental harvesting
>>>>> wouldn't be immediately implemented, we could certainly extend the
>>>>> service to include it later.
>>>>> i'd like to pause here to gauge the consensus, thoughts,
>>>>> concerns, and
>>>>> ideas of others. anyone?
>>>>> thanks,
>>>>> aaron
>>>>> 2008/5/5 Kevin Richards <RichardsK at landcareresearch.co.nz>:
>>>>>> I think I agree here.
>>>>>> The harvesting "procedure" is really defined outside the Tapir
>>>>>> protocol, is
>>>>>> it not?  So it is really an agreement between the harvester and
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> harvestees.
>>>>>> So what is really needed here is the standard procedure for
>>>>>> maintaining a
>>>>>> "harvestable" dataset and the standard procedure for harvesting
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> dataset.
>>>>>> We have a general rule at Landcare, that we never delete records
>>>>>> in
>>>>>> our
>>>>>> datasets - they are either deprecated in favour of another  
>>>>>> record,
>>>>>> and so
>>>>>> the resolution of that record would point to the new record, or
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> are set
>>>>>> to a state of "deleted", but are still kept in the dataset, and
>>>>>> can
>>>>>> be
>>>>>> resolved (which would indicate a state of deleted).
>>>>>> Kevin
>>>>>>>>> "Renato De Giovanni" <renato at cria.org.br> 6/05/2008 7:33 a.m.
>>>>>> Hi Markus,
>>>>>> I would suggest creating new concepts for incremental harvesting,
>>>>>> either in the data standards themselves or in some new
>>>>>> extension. In
>>>>>> the case of TAPIR, GBIF could easily check the mapped concepts
>>>>>> before
>>>>>> deciding between incremental or full harvesting.
>>>>>> Actually it could be just one new concept such as "recordStatus"
>>>>>> or
>>>>>> "deletionFlag". Or perhaps you could also want to create your own
>>>>>> definition for dateLastModified indicating which set of concepts
>>>>>> should be considered to see if something has changed or not,  
>>>>>> but I
>>>>>> guess this level of granularity would be difficult to be
>>>>>> supported.
>>>>>> Regards,
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Renato
>>>>>> On 5 May 2008 at 11:24, Markus Döring wrote:
>>>>>>> Phil,
>>>>>>> incremental harvesting is not implemented on the GBIF side as  
>>>>>>> far
>>>>>>> as I
>>>>>>> am aware. And I dont think that will be a simple thing to
>>>>>>> implement on
>>>>>>> the current system. Also, even if we can detect only the changed
>>>>>>> records since the last harevesting via dateLastModified we still
>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>> no information about deletions. We could have an arrangement
>>>>>>> saying
>>>>>>> that you keep deleted records as empty records with just the ID
>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>> nothing else (I vaguely remember LSIDs were supposed to work  
>>>>>>> like
>>>>>>> this
>>>>>>> too). But that also needs to be supported on your side then,
>>>>>>> never
>>>>>>> entirely removing any record. I will have a discussion with the
>>>>>>> others
>>>>>>> at GBIF about that.
>>>>>>> Markus
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>> -- 
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>> Botanic Integrated Botanical Information System  fax: +61 2 62509 599
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