IOPI - Univ. Reading Herbarium News 30

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Wed Jan 6 14:45:23 CST 1993


[ extract from University of Reading, Plant Science Laboratories,
  Herbarium News 30: 6, 14 Dec 1992 ]

Dr Stephen Jury attended the recent meetings of IOPI in Mexico.
Readers may be interested in, if not aware of developments in, this
area of Plant Information Systems.

A meeting took place in October 1990 in Delphi sponsored by CODATA,
TDWG (Taxonomic Databases Working Group) and the Commission of the
European Community under the title of Designs for a Global Plant
Information System (GPSIS).  The object is to obtain a computerized
world check-list of plant names of vascular plants as soon as
possible.  To this `backbone' other desirable information (e.g.
geographical distribution) could be attached.  An international
committee was set up, chaired by Sir John Burnett, to plan the way
forward.  The updated proceedings of this Delphi GPSIS meeting will
be published as Systematics Association special volume under the
title Designs for a Global Plant Diversity Information System, edited
by F.A. Bisby, R.J. Pankhurst & G.F.

Another meeting was held shortly afterwards at Kew to prepare the
ground for a `Species Plantarum Project' (SPP), basically a `Flora
Europaea' of the world to be completed over a 50 year period.
However, at the Kew meeting the GPSIS proposals were preferred and an
international `Interim council'  was set up and asked to meet as soon
as possible.  Unfortunately, this was not until 27/29th June 1991 at
Kew, and then not all members were able to attend.

The Kew Interim Council authorized the setting up of a new body
called the International Organization for Plant Information (IOPI),
which was expected to replace both the GPSIS and SPP proposals,
nominate a number of individuals to the Council of IOPI and some of
its committees and working parties, and to agree a minimum dataset
for the Checklist, as well as briefly indicating other kinds of
datasets required.  It was agreed to meet in Canberra, Australia,
19/20th September 1991, so that the members of TDWG attending their
annual meeting could also attend IOPI meetings.  IOPI was, indeed,
set up in Canberra and the four working groups of the Checklist
committee have begun their work.

In Xalapa good progress was, in fact, made in most areas.  The
working group Taxonomic Resources Network, chaired by Nancy Morin of
the Missouri Botanical Garden, has drawn up a draft list of family
and geographical specialists to identify providers of data and has
produced a questionnaire on datasets.  (A copy can be obtained from
Dr S.L. Jury at Reading).  The "Data Definitions and Standards Group"
was chaired by Dr Frank Bisby of Southampton and the "Information
Systems Group" by Catharine Zellweger of Geneve.  The latter will
establish an electronic communication service on Internet, available
by 1 December 1992.  The "Editorial and Products Group", chaired by
Hervh Burdet of Genhve will publish the IOPI Newsletter and, once the
communication network
is in place, this will be available electronically.

The Checklist Committee approved the following plan:

Phase 1 - November - December 1992.
1.      Identify and approach database holders and taxonomic
        specialists with plan, and invite collaboration (TRN);
2.      similarly establish regional centers and select regional
        advisors (Checklist Committee);
3.      complete minimal dataset (DDS/ISG);
4.      initiate work on communication network (ISG);
5.      prepare and distribute database questionnaire (TRN);
6.      prepare detailed technical plan (ISG).

Phase 2 - January - June 1993.
1.      selected samples of databases, involving selected
        families/genera reviewed for:
        * assessment by DDS/ISG for problems of conformity
        and assimilation
        * sample runs involving taxonomic specialists (CLC/TRN)
        results available to donors and IOPI members;
        all involving regional advisors;
2.      communication network established; all donor databases,
        regional nodes and IOPI members can log on; work station at
        IOPI node (ISG);
3.      database questionnaire turned into on-line database of
        databases (new working group).

Phase 3 - July - December 1993.
1.      assessment of position to date by IOPI, database donors,
        specialist taxonomists;
2.      IBC presentation in Tokyo;
3.      database directory published as hard copy;
4.      ongoing activities maintained; IOPI system tested.

Phase 4 - 1994.
1.      major work on integration begins; as data is processed and
        the IOPI database develops, it will be available on network
        to collaborating centers and individuals, but access by
        others will be regulated.
2.      programme and problems of publication to be addressed by
        EPG and by group concerned with the problems of ownership
        and acknowledgement.

Phase 5 - 1995 through 1996
1.      work on major datasets continues;
2.      other databases incorporated;
3.      proposals for modes of publication to be circulated
4.      outstanding problems addressed.

Phase 6 - 1997.
first `edition' of preliminary World Checklist of Vascular Plants
(WCVP) available on communications network in electronic form and

IOPI has, thus, got well underway and we look forward to the next
progress report.  Readers are encouraged to support IOPI and join the
organisation; contact Alex George, Australian Biological Resources
Study, Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service, GPO Box 636,
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601.

>From root Mon Jan  1 00:00:00 1970
Jury, Stephen L. SBSJURY at READING.AC.UK (Internet) Herb. Curator (RNG)
                 Department of Botany, Univ. of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading,
                 RG6 2AS, United Kingdom  Ph (44) 734318169  FAX (44) 734753676

Jim Croft                [Herbarium CBG]           internet: jrc at
Australian National Botanic Gardens                   voice:  +61-6-2509 490
GPO Box 1777, Canberra, ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA             fax:  +61-6-2509 599
______a division of the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service______

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