[Taxacom] pro-iBioshphere project Web Site launched

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Nov 16 15:34:38 CST 2012


Nah, I don't buy it! Currently, we have most of the *funding* going to infrastructure, while content providers struggle with very little reward. A whole industry has sprouted up as a parasite on the hard work of the underfunded content providers. The reality today is that we get small underfunded content sites which are hard to do anything with, because they lack much infrastructural support, and massive infrastructural sites that are full of low quality data (and which magnify the errors in the data by propagation across several supposedly "reliable" sites). This problem cannot be solved, it seems to me, for as long as content and infrastructure are handled by different communities, and for as long as funders/managers simplemindedly make the mistake of thinking that infrastructure is more important than content, because it integrates all the smaller content providers and is required to answer any of the "big questions". The reality is that reliable
 content is at least as important as infrastructure, so it should get at least equal funding ...
 
Stephen

From: Dave Roberts <workpackage6 at gmail.com>
To: taxacom taxacom <TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Friday, 16 November 2012 11:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] pro-iBioshphere project Web Site launched

Dear Gregor,

the problem with content is that its hard to demonstrate that any given quantum of content will make any difference.  I would content that most content projects are "local interest" meaning they are of value to small communities.  That is not a bad thing, provided they can be linked up into a "data lake" and not remain as "data puddles".

Infrastructure projects, by and large, focus on reducing the cost of building content.  How many pilots have we seen that produce terrific content, but don't roll out any further?

We, as a community, need to address the overall balance.  Doing it the old way was too slow and expensive.  New ways of working, like BHL, achieve great things but are often held back by the lack of associated end-points, specifically effective ways to mine the data for content and link it to other stuff.

We need a mixed approach because throwing money at the old methods isn't going to break the log-jam.

Cheers, Dave
--
On 15 Nov 2012, at 22:08, Gregor Hagedorn wrote:

> Chris,
> 
> I largely agree with you with respect to software versus content. (My
> addition is that content needs to be open content, like open source,
> available to others - which sadly a majority of content producing
> biologists does not subscribe to.)
> 
> But a) the project is actually already stretching the frame of its
> pure "coordination" funding to work on pilots = content, and b) an
> earlier project that asked the majority of money for content work fell
> through, because reviewer considered it too expensive to work on
> content. How do we change this?
> 
> More need to become project reviewers and policy influencers...
> 
> Gregor
> 
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-- 
Dr D.McL. Roberts,        Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5086
European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy Project,
Coordinator WorkPackage 6 (Unifying Revisionary Taxonomy),
Dept. Zoology,
The Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road,
London        SW7 5BD
Great Britain            Email: dmr at nomencurator dot org
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"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try and give it to them.  By the time you get it built, they'll want something new." [Steve Jobs, quoted in The Guardian, Technology Section, 25 June 09].
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