[tdwg] TDWG mid-year message

Eamonn O Tuama eotuama at gbif.org
Mon Apr 21 15:03:41 CEST 2008

Dear Donald,
I would like to highlight that GBIF, too, has identified dataset metadata as
an area of particular concern for its work programme in the next few years.
We have just made a document entitled "Metadata Requirements for Datasets
delivered via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Network"
available (http://www.gbif.org/News/NEWS1207571174) and would welcome
comments from the TDWG community.
Best regards,

Éamonn Ó Tuama, Ph.D. (eotuama at gbif.org), 
Senior Programme Officer for Data Access & Database Interoperability (DADI),
Global Biodiversity Information Facility Secretariat,
Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, DENMARK 
Phone:  +45 3532 1494; Fax:  +45 3532 1480 


From: tdwg-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On
Behalf Of Donald.Hobern at csiro.au
Sent: 15 April 2008 11:36
To: tdwg at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: [tdwg] TDWG mid-year message

*** I apologise to those who receive this by multiple routes. ***


Dear TDWG Members and Friends,


We are just about at the mid-point between TDWG annual meetings and activity
within subgroups is at a natural low.  This is however a good time to review
the status of all our projects and activities and to try to identify the key
things we would like to see happen during the rest of the year.
Biodiversity Informatics remains an active and developing area of research
and we are getting closer to supporting a new generation of biodiversity
data applications.  


The recent launch of the Encyclopedia of Life demo pages is a powerful
reminder of several things.  First, there is a great interest in marshalling
information on the world’s biodiversity.  Secondly, there is an enormous
need for us to find new and faster ways to bring large quantities of
high-quality data online.  Thirdly, we still have plenty of work ahead of us
in finding better ways to make all of these data interoperate freely so that
they can become part of a rich and developing store of knowledge.  TDWG has
a critical role to play in ensuring that all this happens in a
well-structured way.


TDWG is joining with a wide range of other biodiversity informatics
organisations to plan the e-Biosphere conference to be held in London in
2009.  This meeting is intended to showcase what is happening in our field
and we must consider what we would most like to have demonstrated in such a
forum.  What are the big applications which our wider community could soon
deliver to support science and sound policy?  What tools would we like to be
able to put in the hands of researchers, administrators or the general
public?  What do we need to start doing now to make these possible?


I am of course facing these same questions in the Australian context.  When
I consider the key areas where the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) needs to
make rapid progress, TDWG has a significant role to play in all of them.
Some particular focus areas include:


*	Improving the quality and management of metadata – the ALA needs a
metadata repository to manage information on biodiversity data sets and will
be seeking to develop a repository which is compatible both with other
national repositories and also with international developments in
biodiversity informatics 
*	Lowering the technical threshold for sharing biodiversity data in
structured forms – the ALA will be exploring ways to package provider
software tools as bundles requiring minimal configuration (and will explore
offering a centralised installation of these tools for those who do not wish
to maintain a web server) 
*	Developing tools to support online identification – we need to find
efficient ways to exploit structured descriptive data where it is available.
We also need to supplement these data with well-organised access to the
original literature, images, distribution data, etc. in an environment which
guides users to the best identifications possible. 
*	Managing data on species interactions – I believe that the most
significant class of data we do not handle today is information on the
trophic and other relationships between taxa.  Many new applications, and
new ways to navigate biodiversity data, would become feasible if we could
organise what is known in the literature of predator-prey, host-parasite,
pollinator-plant and other relationships.  I would really like to explore
text mining or other approaches as  routes to developing significant
databases of such information. 


These are some of the areas where I would like us to make progress.  What
would you add to this list?


Finally, I must make an apology.  At the TDWG meeting in Bratislava, I made
a call for those who would be interested in collaborating on developing a
Java implementation of TAPIR.  Unfortunately I failed to do anything about
this in all the business of moving out to Australia.  I do however still
know of a couple of groups who would like to do this.  If you have an
interest in a Java TAPIR implementation, and could contribute to making it
happen, please let me know (again) and I will try to get everyone concerned
in contact with each other.


Very best wishes,




Donald Hobern, Director, Atlas of Living Australia

CSIRO Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601

Phone: (02) 62464352 Mobile: 0437990208 

Email: Donald.Hobern at csiro.au

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