[Taxacom] Survey of attitudes to ontologies in systematics

Erika Tucker emtucker at umich.edu
Wed Mar 13 13:44:50 CDT 2019

On behalf of Tony Reznicek...

Dear all,

I am working on an NSF project headed  by Hong Cui at the University
of Arizona that involves many others looking at ontologies and using
then to make phenotypic data computable.

The title of the project is “ABI Innovation: Authors in the driver's
seat: fast, consistent, computable phenotype data and ontology

The project’s main goal is to make phenotypic data computable; to take
the verbal descriptions we make to describe taxa and to make them
available for other types of developmental, ecological, and
evolutionary projects. This particular project uses plants as a test
group, but  the results are applicable to all organisms.

The critical thing about the project from a systematists’ point of
view is that it will produce tools that will actually make the job of
describing taxa and standardizing descriptions for plants a reality.
Anyone that was involved with the Flora of North America project or
knows about it, will know how the latter was a serious challenge.

Many tools have been created in the past, but by people that would not
use them in their daily work. Dr. Cui is taking a new approach by
putting the authors of the data first, but she would like to know more
about why we are not using previous tools in order to make a
breakthrough in her discipline and hopefully ours. So we are trying to
look at attitudes towards and usage of ontologies in systematics.

We would be grateful if you would take the survey at the link
below...and you have the chance to win a prize! A $50 prize winner
will be randomly selected from every 50 responses
that provide an email for contact!

Many ontologies have been created, but are systematists embracing and
using them? If you work with phenotype characters (such as eye color,
leaf size) at all, your response to the following survey will be
valuable for those who are developing ontologies for high quality
biodiversity data for all. It will take about 15 minutes to complete
the survey:


You don't need to know ontologies to make your opinion count:

Thanks for your help with this project,,

Tony Reznicek

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