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Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Activities of the ETI Biodiversity Center Amsterdam, Campinas, Concepcion, London, Montevideo, St.Peterburg.

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Presentation on theme: "Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Activities of the ETI Biodiversity Center Amsterdam, Campinas, Concepcion, London, Montevideo, St.Peterburg."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Activities of the ETI Biodiversity Center Amsterdam, Campinas, Concepcion, London, Montevideo, St.Peterburg Peter H. Schalk ETI Biodiversity Center University of Amsterdam A case example 1990 - 2002

2 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Needs in the taxonomic and biodiversity community Needs formulated by UNESCO, UNEP, CBD, GBIF: - taxonomic impediment: need for a new (ICT) momentum - growing demand for taxonomic/biodiversity information: more output - biodiversity documentation needs global collaboration (incl. Dev. Countr.) - scientific resources worldwide accessible (N-S balance) An answer (1989): - ETI Biodiversity Center set up by UNESCO in 1989 - located at the University of Amsterdam with support of Dutch Government - an R&D organization by and for taxonomists & biodiversity researchers - new mechanism to document the earth’s biological diversity - knowledge center for biodiversity informatics - not-for profit e-publishing organization to increase accessibility of info

3 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge The ETI Biodiversity Center is a NGO in operational relations with UNESCO, dedicated to the production of scientific and educational computer-based materials for the preservation and worldwide dissemination of knowledge concerning the world’s plants, animals and other organisms. Its mission is to improve quality, quantity and accessibility of crucial taxonomic and biodiversity information. ETI acts as a commonly shared gateway between knowledge providers (taxonomists, ecologists, biodiversity specialists) and a broad range of user communities: science, education, policy, eco- management, society (e.g. awareness). It facilitates an interactive process of data sharing and compilation between specialists in all regions of the world and stimulates an information flow from academia to society. Mission

4 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge to develop software tools for taxonomists and biodiversity researchers, to store, manage, exchange, compile and disseminate their knowledge (Linnaeus II, taxonomic databases, ‘wrapping’ tools, webpublishing tools). to stimulate and support international human resource networks of specialists, who, by using common (‘standard’) software tools, build computer based knowledge systems (ETI’s taxonomy networks cover approx 1,500 specialists worldwide). to facilitate worldwide distribution of up-to-date taxonomic and biodiversity knowledge systems by offering an electronic publishing service (on CD-ROM, DVD-ROM for stand alone use) and through the Internet (on-line access to all information). Currently some 90 CD-ROMs were published (some 50,000 users) and information on 230,000 taxa is available on-line. to provide training in the use of biodiversity informatics (courses). ETI’s principle tasks

5 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge ETI’s user community: A. The taxonomists & biodiversity specialists. Knowledge Providers - developers of ICT instruments for data management and analysis - technical assistance to implement and use ICT tools - mechanism for making knowledge widely available (e-publishing) B. The users of taxonomic and biodiversity information. ‘Society’ - science (pure and applied) - education (various levels) - government: policy and management - commerce/industry - laymen/society in general information providers information appliers E T I Information flow ICT tools/supportFeedback/needs User community AUser community B

6 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Assessing user needs for informatics appications is of prime importance. - international workshop identifying requirements of the user community - develop desired tools / mechanisms in order of priorities - prototypes tested with selected user group for feedback from the field - once in use: continued adjustments of tools and mechanisms to standards - outreach: make services widely known and available Maintaining the tool: keep your promises! - Keep in touch: continuous feedback from largest possible user group - prioritize suggestions for improvements, step by step development - modular approach in upgrading tool/mechanism (replace parts, not whole) - warrant downward compatibility with older software versions (small steps) -warrant future availability and upgrades (commitment of developer) - provide help desk and training if needed Linnaeus II

7 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge What did/does the provider/user require in ETI’s case? -a reliable easy to use data entry and management system that supports building taxonomic monographs, capable of continuous extending/updating information content, capable of easily exchanging data with colleagues (through Internet) and between different platforms (Windows, Macintosh), flexible enough to cater for personal needs (customizing) and suitable as (electronic) publication medium. - Furthermore: security (data protection, technical support), tool independence (import/export), freedom of publishing/disseminating when wanted (no copyright restrictions for data use). - Also: a (subsidized, warranted) electronic publication service, off-line and on-line possibilities, speedy handling of finalized content (visible output). - Acknowledgement and where possible some degree of financial return from resulting information products. Linnaeus II

8 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Users needs for the resulting knowledge products (client side) - Reliable easy to use systems - Off-line AND on-line output - Quality information of respectable source - Data rich (broad scope) information products - Broad application in different fields of use - Regular updates of information contents - Helpdesk for technical support - Affordable (low) prices

9 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge The result (part 1: off line tool): A multifunctional interactive software package that combines taxonomic (multimedia) databases, hierarchies, literature database, glossary, method section, computer assisted identification tools and a geographic information system in one standard system. Import/export functions warrant communication with other database and information systems. Linnaeus II

10 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge ETI Partner programindividual specialists (some 1,500) ETI Network programgrouped specialists (taxon/region) ETI Member programinstitutional co-operation ETI Branch programnational/regional node (5) ETI Biodiversity Center: Development ICT tools, technical support Helpdesk, network co-ordination Publication service, IPR, CD-ROMs & Internet Other users Science Publishers The Mechanism output input IPR feed back royaltiesinformation

11 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge GBIFEMBnetETI branchessp2000 Validated taxon names Synonyms, descriptions, illustrations, maps On-line Links to other db’s ETI’s World Biodiversity Database 2002: 230,000 Taxa on-line Name finder tool 00 Taxonomic views & search Taxonomists database 3,500 specialists Geographic Search tool Modular Identification tool 04020199 GIS The result (part 2: on line tool): Linnaeus III WWW.ETI.UVA.NL 03

12 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Linnaeus II Software For data Manage ment Experts’ own Linnaeus II WP Web Site Import & export Linnaeus II Run-Time ETI’s World Biodiversity Database 2002: 230,000 taxa on-line Users Db’s The Internet Linnaeus II Software For Web Publishing Lin II Web Site Species 2000 The result (part 3: user independence) Linnaeus III GBIF

13 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge What was achieved? - The Linnaeus II software is globaly accepted. The user community (ETI partner network, ±1,600) is still growing. Linnaeus II on-line ‘underway’ - The software is “stable”, flexible, cross platform, and allows for importing and exporting data thus making the user ‘independent’. - Continuous feedback warrants timely ‘upgrading’ and extented functionality. Eg: a web publishing tool wil be added to Linnaeus II. - Successful e-publication program: the output of ETI since 1994 is some 90 CD-ROMs titles. There is a warranty to keep them accessible (updates). - The information is also (freely) available on-line (230,000 taxa in database part, remainder (keys, maps) to follow in 2002 and 2004). - The author (knowledge provider) receives a royalty percentage from sales of the produced CD-ROMs.

14 Biodiversity Informatics: Sharing Knowledge Advantages of ETI approach Fully user community driven Broad ‘consensus’ for software package by using feedback Steady growth of information content High quality information by tapping directly into the source Broadly applicable of data (descriptions, hierarchies, keys, biogeography) Multimedia data: attractive and useful for a large ‘audience’ Visible product output is important for contributor (citing) Disadvantages: Unstructured data delivery and thus incomplete filling of main database Uncontrolled product output (volume, content) Relative slow increase in number of taxa due to complexity of data Potential for overflow of organisation (increasing data influx) Need for funding to support R&D component

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