[Taxacom] new GBIF dataportal

Shorthouse, David dps1 at ualberta.ca
Sat Aug 4 15:55:39 CDT 2007

> But a more serious question:
> GBIF is heading towards full operation. The new data portal launched July
> is a wonderful piece of programming work which gives us a vision of what
> can expect.
> If only that massive lot of errors and wrong interpretations could be
> avoided!
> Wouldn't it be better if someone look at the data before they are put in
> public domain?

I feel your dismay & I suspect many share the same opinion. But, these and
other similar errors also appear in peer-reviewed publications. The only
difference now is the errors are not closed-access & all the dirty laundry
is being aired. More individuals like yourself who can critically examine
the data necessarily leads to better data & consequently, better use of the
data. This means you and others like you have to be actively involved in the
process & assume some of the responsibility. GBIF has options available for
users to directly contact the provider who may not realize they are serving
erroneous data. To provide feedback to the University of Navarra's Museum of
Zoology, see one such erroneous record here:
http://data.gbif.org/occurrences/21924/. They also have publicly available
event logs on providers such that anyone & everyone can see nomenclatural,
geocoding, etc. issues. Logs for MZNA are accessible at:

That being said, GBIF could improve its portal by:

1. Facilitating communal vetting of data & make it abundantly obvious that
it are providers & not themselves who are responsible for some of the
garbage that slips through. 
2. Make these event logs for providers very apparent (email reports
perhaps?) & make providers accountable. These event logs really should cause
providers sit up & take notice because the dirty laundry is now being
pointed out.
3. Flashy disclaimers to catch one's eye such that the end user takes some
responsibility prior to using acquired data in occurrence algorithms, etc.

My two cents,

David P. Shorthouse
Department of Biological Sciences
CW-403, Biological Sciences Centre
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB   T6G 2E9
mailto:dps1 at ualberta.ca

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