[Taxacom] GBIF data stewardship
Faunaplan at aol.com
Faunaplan at aol.com
Wed Aug 8 08:18:01 CDT 2007
after reading Anna Weitzman's compelling words "So, we have people requesting
that we do better on all fronts" I'd like to address the idea of data
stewardship done by the "people", - expert users of GBIF data.
It seems to me that the new GBIF portal, especially its new download
functions and overview map, already offers tools that could be used for exactly that
idea, - right now. Some thoughts and questions:
Who can be a data steward?
Instead of/ or in addition to a password/ log-in system for qualified users,
I think existing on-line communities (e.g., the "ants-people"), many of them
with their own advanced web-sites, could do a great job as GBIFdata stewards.
How to bring data to their stewards?
Currently, it's a time-consuming game if you want to spot all errors in
taxonomic groups with thousands of species. So, maybe, once GBIF knows the special
interest of data stewards, could there be some sort of easier access?
Not all data elements are equally interesting for the data steward and some
errors are more on the side of GBIF, while others are coming from data
providers. Main errors which could be spotted easily are, e.g.:
- GBIF-side erroneous interpretation of taxon names (data elements Scienti
ficName vs. ScientificName(interpreted) are already downloadable).
- unplausible locality data coming from mis-read labels or georeference
errors (like the ground beetles in the Indian Ocean) can be spotted at a glance
when data are displayed on the map. Could expert communities get faster access to
such overview maps? Eventually in a "light" version, showing only one-degree
cell occurrences, enough for the "plausibility check"? I imagine that a
visualization among expert communities of a growing GBIF database would motivate to
fill in gaps, inspire research in data deficient areas and thus create a lot
Just some ideas...
Last not least I'd like to chime in with congrats to GBIF! It seems to me a
wonderful achievement and an important step. Would be just too sad if one day
experts say "we have better data, we don't even look at GBIF" and professors
recommend their students not to use GBIF data, - while non-experts use them
without being able to see what's good or bad.
Obviously, the quality vs. accessibility etc. discussion is an important
issue in the current early childhood stage of biodiversity informatics.
Faunistics and Environmental Planning
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