[tdwg] FW: ALA Newsletter 1

Lee Belbin leebel at netspace.net.au
Sat Jun 14 09:16:54 CEST 2008

I thought this first ALA Newsletter was well worth posting to the lists.


Lee Belbin

TDWG Secretariat


From: Donald.Hobern at csiro.au [mailto:Donald.Hobern at csiro.au] 
Sent: Friday, 13 June 2008 10:15 AM
To: Donald.Hobern at csiro.au
Subject: ALA Newsletter 1



Atlas of Living Australia Newsletter 1 (10 June 2008)


Welcome to the Atlas of Living Australia newsletter


The Atlas of Living Australia project is now making progress and we plan to
produce a regular informational newsletter to keep stakeholders and friends
aware of what is happening. We would appreciate it if you could pass this
first newsletter on to interested colleagues. 


Please send an email to Wolf Wanjura ( <mailto:Wolf.Wanjura at csiro.au>
Wolf.Wanjura at csiro.au) if you wish to be added to the mailing list for this
newsletter, or if you wish to be removed from the list.


The project


The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) is a five-year project funded under the
Australian Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure
Strategy ( <http://www.ala.org.au/ncris.htm> NCRIS) and involving a wide
range of Australian scientific institutions and organisations (see


The goal of the project is to develop web-based tools to enable users to
discover, access and use the widest possible range of information resources
relating to Australia's fauna and flora, including databases from natural
history collections and ecological field work, images and other multimedia,
text documents, identification tools and molecular data.


A presentation giving an overview of some of the planned project activities
can be found at  <http://www.ala.org.au/documents.htm>
http://www.ala.org.au/documents.htm (
<http://www.ala.org.au/docs/ALAChallengesAndOpportunities.ppt> PowerPoint,
11.5MB;  <http://www.ala.org.au/docs/ALAChallengesAndOpportunities.pdf> PDF,


ALA web site


The ALA has launched its web site ( <http://www.ala.org.au/>
http://www.ala.org.au/).  At present it mostly comprises information about
the project and its participant organisations, but the site will
increasingly include information and discussions on the planning and
implementation of the project. Ultimately it will become the ALA portal for
discovering information on all Australian species.


ALA user needs analysis


What can you do for the ALA today? We need your contacts in biodiversity -
lots of them, and from as many different fields as you can identify. We want
to ask them (and you) a few simple questions. 

We have commissioned a small team to investigate how users access such
information today and how they use it in their own studies and
decision-making. Over the next few months, this team will be contacting many
of you to learn more about your needs. Please give them your support - we
want to understand how the ALA can become a useful tool for you in your


For more information on this process, see


TDWG 2008 conference to be held in Perth


TDWG, the international biodiversity information standards organisation (
<http://www.tdwg.org/> http://www.tdwg.org/), will hold its annual
conference at the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Perth, 19-25 October
2008. One day of the conference will be devoted specifically to the Atlas of
Living Australia and will include workshops to explore ways for the project
to meet the needs of Australian researchers.


For more information on the conference, see
<http://www.ala.org.au/tdwg2008.htm> http://www.ala.org.au/tdwg2008.htm.


ALA review of online and desktop tools


Paul Flemons and John Tann from the Australian Museum have carried out an
extensive review of software components which could feed into the
development of the Atlas or which could be of benefit to data providers or
users. The results of this review are online at
<http://alatools.pbwiki.com/> http://alatools.pbwiki.com/. Please take a
look at this resource and suggest any additional tools which should be


For more information on this review, see
<http://www.ala.org.au/toolsurvey.htm> http://www.ala.org.au/toolsurvey.htm.




We have started discussions with the Global Biodiversity Information
Facility (GBIF,  <http://www.gbif.org/> http://www.gbif.org/) to ensure that
the ALA can act as the Australian node within GBIF.  The ALA expects to
reuse code from the GBIF Data Portal to develop its own cache of Australian
biodiversity records.  This cache will then serve as an efficient way to
integrate Australian data into GBIF's global network.  The ALA has also
begun discussions with GBIF New Zealand on possible ways to share resources
and align activity.


Other activity


Over the last few months the ALA team has been working on the following


*	Establishing the ALA web site
*	Interviewing candidates for the positions of ALA Architect, Metadata
Curator and Java Developer
*	Developing the ALA's 2008-2009 Business Plan
*	Working with the  <http://www.ala.org.au/ncris.htm> NCRIS Platforms
for Collaboration capability's
tforms.htm#National_eResearch_Architecture_Taskforce_(NeAT)> NeAT programme
to plan the development of the ALA's Metadata Repository and Data Annotation
*	Meetings to explore possible collaborations with related
organisations and projects, including contacts with representatives from
Birds Australia, CSIRO Publishing, EarthWatch, GBIF New Zealand, the Murray
Darling Basin Commission, Rio Tinto, the Subcommittee on Plant Health
Diagnostic Standards and many of the ALA
<http://www.ala.org.au/participants.htm> participants.









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