[Taxacom] biodiversity databases

Shorthouse, David dshorthouse at eol.org
Sat Feb 6 21:47:39 CST 2010


It's been a while since I've said much of anything on Taxacom and I
feel compelled to finally toss in my two cents.

I am an EOL champion and have taken a very bottom-up approach to
assisting folks get their wares online. Not only am I a champion of
EOL, I am championing and developing LifeDesks,
http://www.lifedesks.org. Folks create and own their own sites,
develop their own community of contributors, and content flows out to
EOL as a byproduct of their efforts (optional). The thinking behind
the approach is modeled loosely on Scratchpads, http://scratchpads.eu
(and we are working closely with that team to share code, thus pushing
both platforms along). We were also and continue to be inspired by
Christine Hine:

Hine, C. (2008) Systematics as Cyberscience: Computers, Change and
Continuity in Science. MIT Press.

Thus, four tenets are at the forefront of our thinking:
1. It's gotta be easy (we're always working on that front)
2. It's gotta give you, your team, and your institution some visibility
3. It's gotta be scholarly
4. It's gotta help with the funding impediment

The heart of LifeDesks is a classification editor with plenty of
import and export options, plus a suite of what I think are nice
features like cut/paste/drag/drop, two-tree views to help develop a
consensus structure. Just last week, we released the option to
"publish" one's classification as a package. Because it seems the
Global Names folks are leaning toward Darwin Core Archive, we've done
the same with this classification publishing tool. However, it need
not be limited to that so we're treating this as an experiment (we can
just as easily push out Taxon Concept Schema documents and Excel
documents). As I write this, the EOL team is working on a mechanism to
ingest these classifications as alternate browsing structures.

Make your own site...check
Species page text...check
Bulk upload species page text from Excel....check
Biblio linked to DOI....check
Everything organized in your own fluid & dynamic hierarchy....check
Linked to EOL...check
Developed using open source software with a very active community of
Download the code, content, & database (and even delete your site if
you no longer want it!)...check
Recognition for your institution....check (e.g. see
Use them to point your funding agencies to....check

Does everything you want it to do....absolutely not (and, if it did,
we'd wind-up satisfying no one)


A chance for everyone to have a say in its development...check


David P. Shorthouse

On Sat, Feb 6, 2010 at 9:51 PM, David Wagner <davidwagner at mac.com> wrote:
> Any EOL or GBIF champions out there care to respond?
> David Wagner
> On Feb 6, 2010, at 3:53 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> You ask a very good question, though one we have "touched on"
>> already several times on Taxacom. First off, I am in COMPLETE
>> AGREEMENT with you about:

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