[Taxacom] Data query ETC

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sun Jun 23 20:33:04 CDT 2013

At the risk of nit-picking, that's 'NoSQL' (= not only SQL), not 'Non-SQL'. ALA uses MongoDB, whose flexibility across servers comes at a reliability cost. I'm not sure that's a big problem, because the data documents being stored by ALA have their own reliability issues, like uncleaned museum records and misidentified 'citizen science' images.

ALA was very ambitious, and didn't seem to have a clear vision of the 'B' to get to from 'A'. The project had heaps of funding to start with and is now on a drip. The many software tools Ken mentions for analysing biodiversity data are probably less important in 2013 (being easily replaced by client-side programs) than the environmental data still being made freely and easily available through ALA. Those environmental data are the background against which occurrences records could be played with in sophisticated ways, in the ideal 'B' world where all records are available and cleaned. I recently pointed ALA staff to occurrence records for Onychophora way out in the Southern Ocean.

Lots of nice software development happened at ALA but not much thinking about what's needed to be known, or whether ALA would be the best portal for finding out, just the familiar 'let's put all the information together in one place - that's bound to be useful to somebody someday'. And not much thinking about how to filter the stream of incoming biodiversity data.

This thread has been moving off-topic, so if anyone would like to discuss graphDBs and their usefulness for storing and reporting taxonomic/nomenclatural/bibliographic data, please use a different subject line or email me directly.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania
Home contact:
PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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