[Taxacom] encylopedia of life

Fabian Haas fhaas at icipe.org
Mon May 14 00:47:14 CDT 2007

Good to have a community effort. However, after some years in the GTI 
and trying to get a job in taxonomy, I am afraid, that there wont be any 
taxonomic community left to work in it, if there is no funding.

Community efforts are nice and I like them, but somehow I need to pay my 
bills... Some funding would also improve taxonomists standing when 
arguing with deans.


David Patterson wrote:
> As one of the EOL team, I'd like to comment on some of the 
> issues that have been raised.
> 1.  We do have active taxonomists as part of the team.
> 2.  EOL is intended to be a communal initiative.  Its role 
> is to mobilise data, present it through a common but very 
> flexible portal, and so serve audiences with a broad 
> spectrum of needs.  To make this possible, we will promote 
> a virtual workbench, where anyone can add to amend openly 
> accessible software to link, index, annotate, analyse or 
> visualise biodiversity information that are accessible 
> through the internet.  Anyone will be able to register 
> themselves as a data provider so that their content can be 
> seen through the workbench and potentially through the EOL
> 3.  As to whether this initiative will have more success 
> that some of the others, there are a number of 
> developments that make success considerably more probable. 
>  The first is that the internet itself has moved on, the 
> bandwidth can now accommodate biology in a way that was 
> not previously possible; the style of the internet has 
> been very interactive (and therefore makes communal 
> participation possible - one of two key factors that will 
> permit this project to scale); there have been innovations 
> in aggregation (mashup) which we are familiar with in 
> terms of Google images, but in the biological context 
> through web sites like iSpecies or in a more clunky form 
> in micro*scope many years earlier;  we have the 
> foundations of a global index in the form of uBio's 
> NameBank and CoLP has now gone beyond the half way point 
> in developing an authoritative filter for that index; 
>  there will be a fairly extensive network  that 
> synchronizes the major names providers; TDWG now 
> Biodiversity Information Standards is providing data 
> schemas, data transfer standards, and progress towards the 
> semantic web for biology; we have taxonomically 
> intelligent services that can overcome the 'many names for 
> one organism' problem that besets federation of data; we 
> will have access to the content of 1.500,000 biodiversity 
> texts through the BHL so addressing a key bottleneck in 
> taxonomy and therefore making EOL a tool that serves 
> taxonomists; the funding is appropriate to the scope of 
> the challenge, and we have a wonderful video (that was 
> provided for free by Avenue A RazorFish - illustrating 
> that the idea is inspiring others to help us address the 
> challenge)
> 4.  This is a communal enterprise.  EOL is not a funding 
> agency.  It will increase visibility and relevance of 
> biodiversity data that is put on the web.  It will offer 
> to taxonomists high visibility, something that the 
> taxonomic community should be able to exploit in their 
> search for support.
> 5.  The teams will start to assemble in the second part of 
> this year.
> David Patterson
> www.eol.org
> eolinformatics at mbl.edu
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FabianHaas2 at gmx.net, fhaas at icipe.org, Extension -2404

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Dr. Fabian Haas
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