Database caretaking

Arthur Chapman arthur at ERIN.GOV.AU
Fri May 7 11:21:35 CDT 1993

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> >>From barryr at ucmp1.Berkeley.EDU Fri May  7 04:48:09 1993
> >>Date: Thu, 6 May 93 11:52:58 PDT
> >>From: barryr at ucmp1.Berkeley.EDU (Barry Roth)
> >>To: arthur at
> >>Subject: database caretaking
> >>Content-Length: 1008
> >>
> >>Dear Arthur:
> >>
> >>Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my query.  The very fact that
> >>there exists somewhere a position with the title "Scientific Coordinator,
> >>Biogoegraphic Information" is reassuring to my concerns.  How good is
> >>communication among members of the biodiversity database "industry"?
> >>Would, for example, caretakers of a Nature Conservancy database here in
> >>California know the detail in which you are addressing concerns of taxo-
> >>nomic expression, and the solutions that your working group subcommittee
> >>might recommend?
Content-Length: 3002

There is a considerable amount of discussion going on at present.  Recently a
workshop was held here, at ERIN, to discuss "Designing Spatial & Database
Systems to Manage Biodiversity"  The Workshop was attended by 27 persons from
the international community, and about 40 from within Australia, representing
many government agencies and NGOs.  The list of attendees included Peter Rauch
and Tom Duncan from up your way, along with Claire Mosher from the Sequoia
2000 project, Stan Blum and Larry Dorr from the Smithsonian and others from the
 USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, Indonesia, Kenya and the UK.  As far as the caretakers
of the Natural Heritage database "industry" are concerned, Rob Solomon and
Nat Williams from The Nature Conservancy also attended that Workshop.  Since
then, several of us have been involved in a Workshop in Philadelphia to
discuss an All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory.  While in the US, I took the
opportunity to have discussions with The Nature Conservancy on many of the
issues you raised.  I think these discussions were productive and the exchange
of ideas worthwhile, and hopefully of benefit to us both.  A brief report on
the ERIN Workshop are available on the ERIN Gopher (kaos at - or
you can get us through the University of Minnesota gopher under
/Pacific/Australia etc. - we are near the top there. A fuller report will be
posted there and possibly TAXACOM later in the year when available.  Information
on the latter workshop is on Taxacom

> >>
> >>Maybe the recently published "Information Model for Biological Collec-
> >>tions" of the Association of Systematics Collections (available from the
> >>TAXACOM FTP server) has some help for the taxonomy question.  I also found
> >>"Guidelines and Standards for Fossil Vertebrate Databases" (1991, Society
> >>of Vertebrate Paleontology), especially the chapter by Stan Blum, one of
> >>the architects of the ASC model, helpful in setting up my own research/
> >>collection information system.
> >>

THE ASC Data Modelling exercise has also involved us, via Jim Croft at the
Australian National Botanic Gardens - a node on the ERIN Network.  He has
attended those workshops.  Stan Blum has also visited us here, and I have
had discussions with him, Peter Rauch, Julian Humphries, Jim Beach and others
involved in that exercise.  Hopefully that exercise will continue post-haste
as it has wide implications for taxonomic databases as well as many other
areas of endeavour in the study of biodiversity.

> >>Barry
> >>

If you are interested in further information on ERIN, I suggest you have a look
at our Gopher server and some of the information therein.


Arthur D. Chapman  [Scientific Coordinator, Biogeographic Information, ERIN]

Environmental Resources Information Network     internet: arthur at
GPO Box 636, Canberra,                             voice: +61-6-2500 376
ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA                                  fax: +61-6-2500 360

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