[Taxacom] Chameleons, GBIF, and the Red List

Roderic Page Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk
Tue Aug 26 04:48:31 CDT 2014

Hi Lyubo,

Yes, you could have structured annotations and free text for comments. But what I’d like to avoid is the idea that simply putting a comment system onto a database is the answer. It’s easy to do that (I use Disqus on my blog, and on BioStor and BioNames, for example), but that doesn’t get us terribly far (useful as people’s comments are).

If we focus on the structured annotations, and the idea that multiple authorities can write about the same thing, then this leads inevitably to the idea of having a single, global annotation store that holds data about all kinds of things that we care about.

This was what I was trying to articulate in http://iphylo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/rethinking-annotating-biodiversity-data.html  It can be done in a way that makes almost no demands on data providers at all, and if it’s done cleverly it will (as a side effect) provide a potentially powerful database we can use to ask some of the bigger questions about biodiversity data.



Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
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University of Glasgow
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On 26 Aug 2014, at 08:56, Lyubomir Penev <lyubo.penev at gmail.com<mailto:lyubo.penev at gmail.com>> wrote:


Your proposal is indeed elegant, but what about using two separate general types of annotations, e.g.: (1) Corrections/Additions and (2) Comments ("sticky notes")?

The Type 1 (Annotations=Corrections/Additions) can go straight to improve/amend the data (after approval or not is a different story), for example adding geocoordinates for a well-known locality or adding a collector's name missing on label data but known from other source, etc.

Annotations Type 2 (Annotations=Comments) could be associated with the original data or with Type 1 Annotations, e.g., "velvet worms cannot live in the ocean, correct geocoordinates for this locality", or "this locality might be wrongly spelled", etc.

No need to explain that Type 2 annotations could be based on a rich controlled vocabulary of statements, besides the free text option, which will allow machine processing of a part of the process, including automated verification of the original data in some particular cases. For example, annotation of the kind  "Now in different genus"  could automatically query a trusted taxonomy source (CoL, GNUB, etc,) and display all possible versions and validity status of that name and its combinations.


On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 11:32 PM, Chuck Miller <Chuck.Miller at mobot.org<mailto:Chuck.Miller at mobot.org>> wrote:
I see what you are thinking.

I'm thinking too much about the alternate views that seem to always come up in comments about taxonomic data, even right here on Taxacom.  So, an annotation thread could be something like:
"Now in different genus"
"No way, respectfully what century are you from?. It's not even a species."
"Maybe they meant Africa."
"Yeh, in Namibia it was split and revised to Y, I think."
"The phylogeny for Y is totally different. It's now in Z. Does no one read my work? Taxonomic tyranny!"
"Consider this DOI that refers to new collections and it seems to contradict all y'all."

What does "social" annotation turn into?  Lots of useful information but if it starts being contradictory or overlapping, can it be databased and which contradiction is the primary?  Hopefully, annotation of localities could be straightforward as in your example.


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