[Taxacom] FW: European Virtual Library of Taxonomic Literature - Requirements Survey

Charles Hussey c.hussey at nhm.ac.uk
Fri May 4 09:49:12 CDT 2007

Dear Rod,

Thank you for your pertinent comments.

The questions for the online survey were formulated following
brainstorming sessions with colleagues at the Natural History Museum,
London and during the EDIT WP6 meeting last week. My aim, at this stage,
is to capture actual user requirements (a wish-list, if you like) and
the resulting report may hopefully be of use beyond EDIT (informing BHL
and development routes for Commercial products, for instance).

I am not sure that EDIT WP5 has the resources to develop a bespoke
solution and it is likely that (due to time pressure, amongst other
factors) we may go with an 'off-the-shelf' solution - which will
probably only be able to deliver a reduced set of our requirements.
Nevertheless, in gathering the requirements, we may have a roadmap for
the future.

EDIT is all about integration and making the process of taxonomic
research and publication more efficient. Core to this, will be providing
tools for taxonomists working together on a particular group to discover
and collate relevant bibliographic resources, to classify them, and
share them. Obviously there are several different architectures that
could be deployed - I don't want to be prescriptive and it is very
interesting to see the different suggestions being offered.

If we had been having this debate even two years ago, the possibilities
(and solutions) would have been different, and in 2 - 5 years from now,
they will be different again. The challenge to discern what is
achievable within the scope (and lifetime) of the EDIT opportunity,
whilst also producing a legacy that is scalable, sustainable and can
evolve together with changing taxonomic practice and available


Charles Hussey,

Science Data Co-ordinator,
Data and Digital Systems Team,
Library and Information Services,
Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road,
London SW7 5BD
United Kingdom

Tel. +44 (0)207 942 5213
Fax. +44 (0)207 942 5559
e-mail c.hussey at nhm.ac.uk
Species Dictionary project: www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/ Nature Navigator:

-----Original Message-----
From: Roderic Page [mailto:r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk]
Sent: 04 May 2007 13:15
To: Charles Hussey
Cc: 'Taxacom'; tdwg at lists.tdwg.org; Vincent Smith
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] European Virtual Library of Taxonomic Literature
- Requirements Survey

Some quick comments:

This survey suggests the potential for a project that, in my opinion, is
far too big and unwieldy. I suggest focussing on a core set of
functions, and leave the rest to projects that do this sort of thing
much better. I think the two most important things this project could do

1. provide an OpenURL service that will resolve a bibliographic citation
(or a GUID)

2. provide GUIDs (e.g., SICIs and BICIs) that cost nothing for articles,
books, and book chapters, and provide a resolver for these GUIDs.

3. provide a service to parse bibliographic citations (along the lines
of Paratools).

If you have 1, then you have a web service that people can use. For
example, Connotea users can specify an OpenURL resolver to try and find
an article online. By default it is CrossRef's service, which relies on
DOIs. Imaging having a service that also supports literature that uses
other GUIDs (such as Handles and SICIs).

If you have 2, then everything in this project has a URI and therefore
exists on the web (or, at least it's metadata does). This is one of the
motivations behind the bioGUID project.

If you have 3, then you have a service that would be useful in
automatically integrating bibliographies from a range of sources (e.g.,
parsing lists of the literature on the web, or in bibliographies of

In terms of a portal, etc., in an age of Connotea this seems wasted
effort -- they do this sort of thing well, why duplicate effort?  
Community tagging, etc., relies of communities, and Connotea already has

The other lesson to learn from Connotea is that relies on existing web
services, such as CrossRef's OpenURL resolver (to extract metadata
associated with a DOI), and NCBI's PubMed service. By using these
services, the developers could concentrate on other things. What I an
arguing is that if you develop services, the "portal" (or whatever)
becomes either (a) easy, or (b) largely irrelevant because you can use
existing tools.



On 3 May 2007, at 17:08, Charles Hussey wrote:

> The European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT) is a Network of 
> Excellence project, funded by the EU for 5 years 
> (http://www.e-taxonomy.eu/). One of the deliverables of the project 
> will be a Bibliographic Resource to be known as the European Virtual 
> Library of Taxonomic Literature (E-ViTL).
> This part of the project is being managed by the Natural History 
> Museum, London and we are in the process of defining detailed 
> specifications for such a service. We are keen (naturally!) to ensure 
> that the service will meet actual user needs and so, if this is an 
> area dear to your heart, you are warmly invited to participate in an 
> online survey at:
> http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?A=193016818E830 (the survey will 
> close at midnight on 11th May)
> This will ensure that your views are taken into account.
> NOTE: E-ViTL is likely to be a resource discovery tool rather than a 
> repository of full text articles. It could, however, point users to 
> repositories, such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library 
> (http://bhl.si.edu/), online journals and other sources.
> There is some debate over whether E-ViTL should attempt to provide 
> reference management functions, in addition to providing access to 
> literature. Also whether it should be a repository for reference 
> lists, rather than a portal to search distributed repositories.
> However, the purpose of this survey is to gather user requirements 
> and, although it is unlikely that E-ViTL will be able to incorporate 
> all possible requirements, your views will provide a useful pointer 
> for future development.
> Yours sincerely,
> Charles Hussey,
> Science Data Co-ordinator,
> Data and Digital Systems Team,
> Library and Information Services,
> Natural History Museum,
> Cromwell Road,
> London SW7 5BD
> United Kingdom
> Tel. +44 (0)207 942 5213
> Fax. +44 (0)207 942 5559
> e-mail c.hussey at nhm.ac.uk
> Species Dictionary project: www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/ Nature Navigator: 
> www.nhm.ac.uk/naturenavigator/
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom mailing list
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
Professor Roderic D. M. Page
Editor, Systematic Biology
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University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QP
United Kingdom

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