[Taxacom] Global biodiversity databases
stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Aug 7 17:39:54 CDT 2012
> Question 2: Which would you prefer, (A) data verified by "experts"; or (2) [(B)] data verifiable by the user (via referencing)?
[Rich said] Is there a difference? I would hope that users who contribute via referencing have some level of expertise. Perhaps you meant whether anyone with time/interest/expertise can contribute content (open model), vs. a very small number of people having access to contribute content (closed model). I prefer the former.
[my reply]I think you must misunderstand slightly ... option (A) is meant to be one of basically *no or little referencing*, but just some data offered and understood as having been "verified" by some named or unnamed "expert". CoL and its derivatives (E.G. EoL) come close to this model. There is no way for the user to determine a mistake in the data, as it will always seem possible that the "expert" knows something that they don't which renders it correct ...
The main problem, as I see it, with the "more databases the merrier approach", which you seem to outline below, is how to handle it when they disagree with one another. The user can only decide between them based on (A) authority, or (B) verification from primary sources. Realistically, since (B) can be a time consuming and complex task, the average punter is probably going to go for (A). This has the unfortunate (IMHO) consequence that the database who can tout themselves best as "THE most reliable and expert verified" source will win the race, regardless of the actual quality of their data. In a perfect world this wouldn't be a problem, but this ain't a perfect world!!
From: Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
To: 'Stephen Thorpe' <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; 'TAXACOM' <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, 8 August 2012 4:57 AM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Global biodiversity databases
> Question 1: Do you expect a comprehensive and reliable GBD to exist in the
> foreseeable future (or do you think that one or more already exist)?
> If so, do
> you think it is likely to come from an existing initiative, and if so,
Too many to mention: GBIF, CoL/ITIS, EoL, WoRMS, ALA, GN*, numerous
nomenclators (IPNI, Index Fungorum, ZooBank, IRMNG, and many others),
Wikispecies/Wikipedia, etc., etc. I don't think it's right to think in
terms of "a" database. I think the key is building infrastructures that
allow existing databases to become more tightly integrated.
> Question 2: Which would you prefer, (A) data verified by "experts"; or (2)
> data verifiable by the user (via referencing)?
Is there a difference? I would hope that users who contribute via
referencing have some level of expertise. Perhaps you meant whether anyone
with time/interest/expertise can contribute content (open model), vs. a
very small number of people having access to contribute content (closed
model). I prefer the former.
> Question 3: What kinds of data do you want to be able to access from a
Code-relevant Nomenclature bits (original publication/authorship,
typification, homonymy, objective synonymy, etc.), index of "usages" of
names in literature and elsewhere (including historical and current
classifications, syonymies, etc.), cross linkage to museum specimens,
genetic data (GenBank, BOLD, etc.), non-vouchered observations and
images/video/audio recordings, dynamically generated distribution maps,
phylogenetic hypotheses, and a suite of tools and services to analyze and
visualize patterns, trends, etc.
> Question 4: Which existing initiative currently comes closest to what you
> would ideally like to see?
Almost all of them. What we need to do now is make them all work together
P.S. I just reat Tony Rees' post, and I agree with everything he wrote. Like
Tony, I'll cite an online presentation that encapsulates some of my thinking
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