[Taxacom] Data query ETC

Walker, Ken kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au
Sun Jun 23 20:37:45 CDT 2013


> ALA uses MongoDB

ALA uses CassandraDB.

> and didn't seem to have a clear vision of the 'B' to get to from 'A'.

That's the incremental part!  People are always in such a rush to get to Nirvana.

> The many software tools Ken mentions for analysing biodiversity data are probably less important in 2013 (being easily replaced by client-side programs)

But in ALA, they are all in one place.

> I recently pointed ALA staff to occurrence records for Onychophora way out in the Southern Ocean.

You would have been better to advice the data owners of this mistake which would then have been corrected with the next ALA upload from that institution.

> whether ALA would be the best portal for finding out,

As I said, there would be some who would reject $30million in Biodiversity funding.



-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Mesibov [mailto:mesibov at southcom.com.au]
Sent: Monday, 24 June 2013 11:33 AM
To: Walker, Ken
Cc: TAXACOM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Data query ETC

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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