[Taxacom] Occurrence data...

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Feb 18 03:24:14 CST 2011

But don't you have to know that an original source exists?  If you know
exactly what you're looking for, and you know exactly where to go to get it,
then there's no problem.  The role of aggregators is to provide a single
portal that INDEXES all the original sources, and provides tools to FIND the
stuff you're interested in, and then provide links BACK to the original
source for more detailed information.  They also can do some value-added
stuff like show aggregated points on a map.  Sure, a lot of that is bogus
data; but it's more likely to be obviously so when placed in the context of
good data.  If a collection has two specimens of "Aus bus"; one from
California, and one from Florida, then a non-specialist will assume that the
species has a broad distribution.  If those two data points are put on a map
alongside 1000 other datapoints, 990 of which are clustered in California,
and the remaining ones are scattered hither and yon, you might be inclined
to re-examine the scattered ones to see if they may be mis-labeled,
mis-digitized, or mis-identified. 

So, while you look at GBIF and see a godawful mess, I look at GBIF and see
it doing what an aggregator does best -- providing a single portal to
simultaneously access large amounts of data from distributed sources, with
useful services to see these data in aggregate form (which includes drawing
attention to erroneous data in the source databases).

Having access to source data, *and* accessing aggregators that provide
relevant services, are not mutually exclusive things.  And, furthermore, as
you said very well in your later post: "on the Web, those don't have to be
the only 2 choices".


> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Bob Mesibov
> Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 8:28 PM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Occurrence data...
> Hi, Ken.
> I think you're missing my point. I can think of a lot of uses for data,
but I want
> to get those data directly from their sources, not from the godawful mess
> that GBIF has created. That's me as user. Now who is going to want to go
> GBIF route, and why?
> Regards,
> Bob
> --
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and School of Zoology, University
> Tasmania Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
> Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570
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