[tdwg] TDWG in 2009

Donald.Hobern at csiro.au Donald.Hobern at csiro.au
Fri Feb 13 05:27:28 CET 2009

Dear TDWG Members and Friends,

TDWG 2009 will be help in Montpellier France from November 9-13. I thought I would take this opportunity to outline the activities I see as important for TDWG this year leading up to the conference this November. There are many important things for us to be doing in the lead up to the meeting.

Consolidation of past work

We have made much progress over the last few years in reworking our standards for greater interoperability. The LSID work and the associated LSID vocabularies have been a major part of this. These changes make it much easier to reuse TDWG standards with different technologies, to embed TDWG data elements in other structures, and to map other data formats into forms which can be interpreted as TDWG-compliant data. However this work is still incomplete. We need to formalise the vocabularies as an agreed high-level ontology or data model to support cross-project data integration. Many of our projects are awaiting a clear lead in this area. Please contact me if you are interested in leading some of this work or contributing to the discussion.

One obvious example of the importance of this work comes from Annie Simpson's comments during her presentation in Perth. It should not be difficult for a group like GISIN to adopt TDWG standards and be able quickly to build a network to share data using those standards. I reiterate the challenge for us to solve this problem this year, using GISIN's requirements as a benchmark.

It is encouraging to see that NCD nears the end of its public review and that TAPIR has just been submitted to the TDWG standards track. It would appear that the submission of Darwin Core is not far off either. Please help to ensure that we end up with effective standards that can be easily adopted by a wide audience.

e-Biosphere 2009

The e-Biosphere 2009 conference (http://www.e-biosphere09.org/) will take place in London in June. This goals of this conference are to:

 *   Present and discuss the extraordinary progress made in Biodiversity Informatics over the past decade,
 *   Provide participants with demonstrations of current capabilities in this field, and
 *   Bring stakeholders together to create a roadmap for the next decade.

The main meeting (1-3 June) has a programme of invited speakers who will provide an overview of what is happening in biodiversity informatics and promote a vision for the importance of this work. These sessions will address the first and second of the goals above. At the end of the week, there will be a smaller two-day workshop with representatives from a range of biodiversity informatics projects discussing synergies and efficient collaboration (the third goal).

e-Biosphere is significant to TDWG for several reasons:

 1.  The opening session on 2 June will present the benefits of data standards and integration, and we expect that many of the other sessions will directly or indirectly highlight TDWG work. We are also organising a booth to publicise the work of TDWG and hope that this will be an opportunity to demonstrate the value of our role to a wider audience.
 2.  The e-Biosphere organisers have established an "Online Conference Community" (http://forum.e-biosphere09.org/) to engage the wider community in pre-conference discussions.  One of the categories (to be added soon) will be on the role of standards and tools in biodiversity informatics.  We encourage TDWG members to contribute to this and to the other conference discussions.
 3.  TDWG will be represented in the roadmap discussions on 4-5 June.  We trust that this session will help us all to clarify priorities for the next few years and will feed into discussions at TDWG 2009 and beyond.
TDWG 2009

In recent years TDWG conferences have moved away from their earlier format, with significant emphasis on working group meetings, to become more of a reporting conference on the activities of TDWG-related projects.  This has had some benefits, but has also in some ways weakened the organisation by reducing our focus on the core activity of developing and promoting standards.  The vitality of our working groups in large measure depends on the conference providing a focus for their activity.

For this reason, TDWG 2009 will be structured differently.  Monday and Friday of the conference have been reserved for plenary sessions, but for the rest of the conference we plan to run three parallel (and, I hope, intersecting) streams of activities.  One of these will be on the use of biodiversity informatics to support agriculture and crop diversity.  Another stream will be for TDWG to initiate activity in response to the roadmap developed at e-Biosphere 2009.  The third stream is still be be selected.  Each stream will include a range of activities (e.g. symposia, seminars, task group sessions, hackathons) planned to address key issues and to result in real deliverables to progress biodiversity informatics in the area.

We are establishing a Program Committee to plan the conference in detail and will keep you informed of progress.

Best wishes,


[cid:669132404 at 13022009-14D8]

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<mailto:Donald.Hobern at csiro.au>
Web: http://www.ala.org.au/

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