[Taxacom] Fwd: What can Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) do for you?

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Thu Oct 17 17:53:42 CDT 2013

On 10/17/13 3:30 PM, Rafaƫl Govaerts wrote:
> Dear Rod, What is a recurring issue is that no distinction is made in GBIF between native, introduced and cultivated specimens. See e.g. Magnolia grandiflora
> http://www.gbif.org/species/3153283
> This means that I need to check carefully each record, which takes a lot of time. It also means I get regular emails saying GBIF says this species is also in Jawa and when checking it, turns out to be from Bogor botanic garden. So displaying those in a different way would make my work easier and users less confused.
I strongly suspect this is not so much GBIF's responsibility as that of 
the institutions supplying the data. I'm fairly certain that Darwin Core 
standards include provisions for discriminating "alien" distribution 
data, but not everyone is likely to apply such standards, or they use a 
different data entry protocol, such as recording the locality of 
origination rather than the locality of collection (as we do for all our 
insect specimens reared in our quarantine facility - it would be absurd 
if all these exotic species were georeferenced to southern California!).

Also, Chuck Miller wrote:
> So Steve, is your answer to Rod's question "GBIF can do more to get more data for me from outside North America, Europe and Australia"? Or a different answer?
Even if there was a miscommunication here, it does highlight another 
side of preceding issue: namely, GBIF cannot make data available that no 
one has gathered and passed along. Unless GBIF is willing to fund data 
gathering efforts (and target those efforts so as to "fill gaps"), then 
the role of clearing house means they take what they are given and 
display it, which are (mostly) the results of people's externally-funded 
research grants. If the data points in GBIF show a strong bias 
taxonomically or geographically, I don't think you could claim that's 
GBIF's fault.


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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