TIARA Organismal Bioinformatics Project

John D. Oswald j-oswald at TAMU.EDU
Sat Apr 22 22:40:06 CDT 2000


    The TIARA Organismal Bioinformatics Project group is pleased to make
the first public announcement of the TIARA web site. A major upgrade of the
Texas A&M University Insect Collection (TAMUIC) "Species Browser"
(http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/ento/bugadmin/spbrowserv3/main1.html), the new
TIARA site (http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/tiara/) contains an implementation of
one notion of the "taxon home page" concept. The site consists of a highly
interactive, application-like, interface that uses several user-selectable
"finders" to quickly facilitate the location of any of >40,000 taxon pages
generated on-the-fly from underlying data. Currently implemented finders
include those for scientific names (search and classification options;
>40,000 taxa included), common names (search and list options; >3500
English and Spanish names currently included), and several, smaller,
"special projects" finders. Each taxon page consists of one or more
screens, each of which displays data pertaining to a particular information
type, e.g., maps, taxon lists, web links, images. Links for particular
information types appear on a taxon page only if that type of information
is available for the active taxon. Navigate to the taxon page for the order
Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) to get a feel for the multi-screen
approach to the taxon page concept (click on the different text links under
the "Show" function group).
    Data behind the TIARA interface are currently limited. General holdings
information is available for >30,000 species contained in the TAMUIC (we
invite browsing by systematists actively engaged in revisionary projects!).
Texas county-level distribution data is available for a scattering of taxa,
but particularly for the Araneae, Ephemeroptera, Odonata, Scarabaeidae and
Tabanidae. Links to ca. 1400 entomological web sites are available from
"Web Links" listings, primarily located on ordinal-level insect taxon
pages. Approximately 170 images (all Odonata) are currently available.
Additional data -- particularly images, maps and specimen-level data from
the TAMUIC -- are in preparation and will be added to the site episodically.
    The current TIARA web site is a functional prototype developed from an
interdisciplinary collaboration of biologists and computer scientists
(please view the TIARA "Collaborators" page for details). Various aspects
of the project were supported by several grants, with principal funding
coming from a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
    We invite comments on the TIARA site from the Taxacom community, and we
issue an invitation to individual biologists to contact us if they are
interested in joining us in this collaborative bioinformatics project (see
the TIARA "Join Us" page for more information). Please e-mail all comments
to John Oswald (TIARA Project Manager) at j-oswald at tamu.edu.

John D. Oswald
Asst. Prof. & Curator
Department of Entomology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2475

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