[Taxacom] What can Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) do for you?
r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Sat Oct 19 06:14:27 CDT 2013
Torsten Dikow has also been in touch about this paper (http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00233.x , you can also get a copy of the PDF from Torsten's Mendeley page http://www.mendeley.com/profiles/torsten-dikow/publications/journal/ ).
I agree that taxonomic revisions are a great source of specimen data, and indeed I've been playing with some tools to get specimen data out of BioStor, see http://iphylo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/linking-gbif-and-biodiversity-heritage.html and http://iphylo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/gbif-specimens-in-biostor-who-are-top.html. This isn't quite as detailed as Meier and Dikow have done, which is extract specimen + metadata (my BioStor experiments extract specimen codes, and latitude and longitude, but don't link the two together). There's a lot lot of scope to try and automate this further so we could automatically extract lists of material examined from papers (easier if it's been marked up as in recent ZooKeys papers, otherwise challenging).
So, if the argument is that GBIF should be looking beyond museum collections then I completely agree (actually, museum specimens are not the largest source of data in GBIF, 68% of records are observations of living organisms, see http://www.gbif.org/occurrence ).
On 19 Oct 2013, at 03:32, Bob Mesibov wrote:
> I don't blame Rod for asking the wrong question in starting this thread, because he's genuinely interested in making GBIF more useful.
> But the responses better fit the question 'For what you want to do, is a collection of taxonomically and geographically biased records, full of errors and misidentifications, any use at all?', and the answers have been 'Not much'.
> This may be because TAXACOM members are mainly taxonomists or taxonomy-focused. Over on his iPhylo blog, Rod is getting feedback from 'bioinformaticians', who are thinking about technical fixes for existing content. He may also be getting off-Web responses by email (like mine).
> But the starting premise is that aggregating museum and related occurrence records is a Good Thing and can only get better with more records. Is that premise correct? Or is it like EOL's starting premise, that it would be cool to have one webpage for every species? Cool for whom? For what purposes?
> And in both the GBIF and EOL cases: for the purposes that people now use biodiversity data, are these huge projects the best way to assist people in reaching their varied goals?
> If you're interested in this question, a nice starting point for thought is this 2004 paper:
> Meier, R and Dikow, T (2004) Significance of specimen databases from taxonomic revisions for estimating and mapping the global species diversity of invertebrates and repatriating reliable specimen data. Conservation Biology 18(2): 478-488.
> It's 9 years old but our good friends at Wiley still have it locked up behind a paywall. If you can't get a copy any other way, email me for the 325kb PDF. (In 2013 you can get Wiley to publish your paper in Conservation Biology with open access for a small fee: USD$3000.)
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