[Taxacom] Global biodiversity databases

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Aug 7 19:02:28 CDT 2012

and then all we need is good, clean, verifiable data ...

From: "Walker, Ken" <kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au>
To: Robert Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>; TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Wednesday, 8 August 2012 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Global biodiversity databases

> And in 2012, we have a Linnean Society symposium (http://www.linnean.org/fileadmin/events2/events.php?detail=331) in which someone is finally asking the question: 'eTaxonomy - what do the non-taxonomic user communities want?' It's a sign of maturity when a young man no longer wants the latest, flashiest, most powerful car, but asks instead 'I want to drive from A to B, so what's the cheapest, easiest and most reliable vehicle to do the job?'

Bob - you may call it a sign of "maturity" that the e-taxonomic community is finally asking the question: "What do the non-taxonomic user community want." But really, as usual, we are far behind the general user community attitudes towards data usage.

The world of Apps has been with us now for some time and Apps work best when there is an API (Application programming interface) between the user and the database (sometimes now called the IMS - Integrated Management System).  The API allows for a suite of Apps to be developed for a single or cross-platform suite of databases with each App designed to best deliver the value of the IMS to each of the App user communities.

The e-taxonomic community still works with direct, web based querying to relational databases.  I recently read this interesting "lay-man" blog about why relational databases are so popular but why increasingly they are not delivering what we want:


When the e-taxonomic community adopts user based databases, delivers with Apps as their data interface and allows conversations to be had about data (socialisation of science), then, to me, we will be seeing the beginning of true maturity - or rather "catchup".


Dr Ken Walker
Senior Curator, Entomology
Museum Victoria
GPO Box 666
Melbourne  Vic 3001 Australia

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