[tdwg-tag] TDWG ontology revisited ... a newcomer'sperspective [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Dave Vieglais vieglais at ku.edu
Fri May 15 22:58:20 CEST 2009

On May 16, 2009, at 06:26 , Bob Morris wrote:
> Elephant wise, there is a case to be made that it is not standards  
> bodies, but rather funded, mandated organizations like GBIF whose  
> job is development of tools and training in their use,  even when  
> assistance of the standards-making participants is needed in the  
> technical implementation of the tools.  GBIF was pretty successful  
> in that regard with their DiGIR provider, and is well on their way  
> to another success with the Integrated Publishing Toolkit.

I'm sure Bob did not mean to imply that DiGIR was developed by GBIF,  
or even has an ownership role.  The bulk of development work on that  
protocol was funded by NSF through projects such as MaNIS, Herpnet,  
Fishnet along with (significant) support from the University of Kansas  
and many other non-funded contributors.  DiGIR was later utilized by  
GBIF and promoted through their workshops.

The important point though is that, in my opinion, groups such as TDWG  
provide a (hopefully unbiased) representation of the overall community  
requirements and direction.  TDWG provides a forum where standards and  
tools to support biodiversity informatics can be identified and  
discussed (sometimes in perpetuity).  At the other extreme, research  
projects (such as those funded by NSF) generally engage in exploration  
of novel concepts and collaboration between different groups for the  
advancement of the science (with some consideration of the overall  
community goals as identified by community representative groups such  
as TDWG).  Then somewhere in the middle is GBIF.  The role of GBIF  
would ideally not be in the development of new tools or exploring new  
techniques (since GBIF has rather limited funding), but rather in  
taking the best of what comes out of the many research projects  
(refining the outcomes where necessary) and engaging in education and  
outreach to ensure long term support of the community infrastructure  
required for biodiversity informatics as outlined by TDWG.  So, in a  
nutshell, TDWG represents the biodiversity informatics community,  
research projects explore ways to advance the science, and GBIF  
(could, should?) provide a role focussing on the long term integration  
and sustainability of the infrastructure and education on its use that  
is necessary for the science.

Dave V.

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