[Taxacom] ITS, Species 2000,[Scanned]

Weitzman, Anna WEITZMAN at si.edu
Sun May 27 19:13:06 CDT 2007

Hi Mary,
Thanks for being a TDWG member (either past or present).  TDWG has gone through many changes (for the good, I believe) over the last few years, and I hope many will consider joining or renewing their membership.
I did not mean to imply that everyone should attend all meetings that interest us.  None of us have an unlimited financial or time budget for meetings (I don't currently have any financial budget for meeting attendance), and I certainly did not mean to imply that we all need to go to TDWG.  We all have to pick and choose what is most important to us given available time and money.  I was only trying to encourage taxonomists to take a more active role, if they can.
That said, it takes time and effort from the community to agree upon standards.  GBIF and other organizations (including NBII, EoL, and others) have asked TDWG to take the lead in coming to a community consensus on standards for biological (mainly taxonomic) information.  There are many standards organizations in other communities and many in our community doing things (or at least protyping applications) using what I would call 'potential' standards (some of which Rod has referred to).  There are many of these, and some 'compete' with others, while others may work together in concert.  Not all areas of taxonomic interest have agreed upon as TDWG standards AS YET, though we are actively working on priority areas and taking as many differing ideas as we can into account as we work to agree upon and provide standards to the community.
It is also important to note that TDWG does not provide applications using standards--these are also built by people in the community or in the case of the GBIF/NBII workshops in the US, the applications were built by GBIF (with substantial ground-work from Univ. of Kansas).  In some cases, applications and, as you suggest, workshops ARE required before most of us will be able to use these standards (without another degree (or the equivalent) and a whole LOT of time that we don't have).  Again, time and money are needed, and we are doing our best with what we have.
Progress does take time, unfortunately, but I assure you, while you are working hard to provide the best grass taxonomy possible and update annotations on specimens, so there are a group of us trying to provide standards and tools to meet your needs (and a few of us do that while trying to keep up a taxonomic program as well :-)).  Please be patient, we are all working toward the same goal, and I believe that, as a group working together, we can get there.
Finally, as the convener of the TDWG Literature standards interest group, I encourage anyone, such as yourself, with an active interest in the standards and how to bring the pieces (such as BPH, TL2, ISBN/ISSN, DOIs, GUIDs, BHL legacy content, Floras, Faunas, monographs, etc) together to join us in the online discussions that are about to accelerate to get the standards needed ASAP.  Anyone who is interested should let me know off list and I'll make sure that you get on the list for the group and are invited to participate in task groups as they are set up. 
Anna L. Weitzman, PhD
Botany and Biodiversity Informatics Research
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
weitzman at si.edu


From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Mary Barkworth
Sent: Sun 27-May-07 7:39 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] ITS, Species 2000,[Scanned]

I do not know about others but I am, or have been, a member of TDWG.  I
suspect I need to pay up. I do pay some attention to what goes on;
obviously it is not my major interest. I do not expect you to attend
sessions on grass systematics but ultimately, it is such information
that we are talking about sharing. I spend minimal time attending
sessions where there are discussions about standards. So far as I can
see, most end up in finding there is need for further discussion. Almost
like taxonomy. Another point of reality - my institution, which is more
generous than some that I know of, contributes up to $500 per year for
conference attendance. This means being very choosey about the meetings
that I attend - the funding that I have had recently (for completing FNA
24) explicitly excluded travel. 

My comment about the tutorial and workshops was prompted by Rod's
comments that there are standards that can be used. If there are, then
surely someone could be a missionary on how ordinary taxonomists can
implement them, to the greater good of all? NBII had workshops on how to
get on to GBIF - and now more institutions are providing data (though
not nearly as many as might). I would prefer workshops at the meetings
that I attend for the systematicy stuff because that way I do not have
to dig so far into my pocket. My guess is that others are the same way.

Back to annotating.

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