[Taxacom] Chameleons, GBIF, and the Red List

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Aug 26 11:55:43 CDT 2014


You do realize that all of this is the foundation of FilteredPush, right?  It was designed to allow both structured (i.e., machine-actionable/automated) annotations and text-based (i.e., for human eyeballs) comments.

The tricky part is not the mechanism (it already exists).  The tricky part is the process of automating the structured annotations.  Should the system ALWAYS accept structured annotations and over-write existing data?  Or should it be moderated?  Or, should there be some sort of user model that allows people to earn some level of reliability, and their annotations are accepted without review; whereas other annotations must be "approved".

There are a million ways it can be done.  Personally, I think some fundamentals are:
1) Information should NEVER be obliterated.  That is, a field is never simply over-written with new information; the old information is always retrievable.
2) There needs to be a method to represent the "best" information.  For example, a single specimen/occurrence may have multiple competing taxonomic determinations.  All determinations should be visible, but it's helpful to the non-expert user if one of them can be represented as the "correct" (per someone) determination.
3) Over-reliance on non-automated, human-mitigated processes = DEATH.  This is because everyone is already too busy.

Including me.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf
> Of Roderic Page
> Sent: Monday, August 25, 2014 11:49 PM
> To: Lyubomir Penev
> Cc: Chuck Miller; TAXACOM; Bob Mesibov
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Chameleons, GBIF, and the Red List
> 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.
> Regards
> Rod
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine College of
> Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graham Kerr Building University of
> Glasgow Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
> Email:  Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk<mailto:Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk>
> Tel:  +44 141 330 4778
> Skype:  rdmpage
> Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/rdmpage
> LinkedIn:  http://uk.linkedin.com/in/rdmpage
> Twitter:  http://twitter.com/rdmpage
> Blog:  http://iphylo.blogspot.com
> ORCID:  http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7101-9767
> Citations:
> http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en&user=4Z5WABAAAAAJ
> On 26 Aug 2014, at 08:56, Lyubomir Penev
> <lyubo.penev at gmail.com<mailto:lyubo.penev at gmail.com>> wrote:
> Rod,
> 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.
> Regards,
> Lyubomir
> On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 11:32 PM, Chuck Miller
> <Chuck.Miller at mobot.org<mailto:Chuck.Miller at mobot.org>> wrote:
> Rod,
> 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.
> Chuck
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