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October 20, 2010

More thoughts on species-related resources at UMBS

I received feedback from our Resident Biologist, Bob Vande Kopple, on the idea I outlined in a previous post. Here are his thoughts, followed by my response.

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. In terms of goals, I see four primary species-related resources at UMBS:

- Species presence lists
- Datasets pertinent to a species, taxon, or taxa
- Pubs pertinent to a species, taxon, or taxa
- Biological Research Collections

My goal is to compose a system that is capable of integrating these resources based upon their common thread (i.e., the species) much as we have done with the researchers, publications, research sites and datasets.

Because this is a gargantuan project, my goal is that the process underlying it resemble building blocks. For example, to include a species list (e.g. mammals or insects; they can be done independently) we need two components:

1) A hierarchical, taxonomic list that ranges from Kingdom->Genus
2) A Species "entity" that refers to the correct Genus and includes additional information such as source and region found in.

Once this list is built, the species can later be referenced to relevant Datasets and Pubs. Once the research collection are digitized, each item in the collection can reference the appropriate species (thereby completing the quadfecta and completing a Tree of Life for Northern Michigan.)

Other thoughts:
Planning for how classes will use and contribute to this is a very good idea and should also be done at the outset.

The size and complexity of the insect (or algae?!?) list is indeed intimidating.

Actually, the whole project is intimidating and the way to get this done, in truth, is for us to find grant money that would bring in others to assist. That is what I REALLY want to do. Want to help me write a grant??



Posted by kkwaiser at October 20, 2010 11:29 AM


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