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E-Research Roundtable - Data Curation for Biodiversity Informatics

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
12:30pm - 2:00pm

LIS 242

Event Details

Session leaders: Bertram Ludäscher, Mike Twidale, Andrea Thomer, Matt Yoder
There are an estimated 2-3 billion specimens held in natural history museums throughout the world; these specimens comprise an irreplaceable dataset documenting this planet’s changing biodiversity over time, and will be crucial to understanding how ecosystems will further change in a warming world. However, this dataset’s use is hindered by its distributed nature: these 2-3 billion data points are stored in thousands of museums, catalog ledgers, databases, and computer systems, and only a tiny fraction of them have even been digitized, let alone published in a usable electronic form.  An interdisciplinary informatics approach is needed to mobilize this data – one rooted not just in biology, but also in a sociotechnical understanding of computing systems.
In this ERRT, we’ll first present three GSLIS-affiliated biodiversity informatics projects that aim to take such an approach:
  • Bertram Ludaescher: “Kurator: A Provenance-enabled Workflow Platform and Toolkit to Curate Biodiversity Data”
  • Matt Yoder (Illinois Natural History Survey) and Mike Twidale: Semantic phenotypes in the context of TaxonWorks
  • Andrea Thomer and Mike Twidale: How Databases Learn – a survey of long-term database use in natural history museums
We’ll then open the session to the broader group for discussion and exploration of links to other LIS-adjacent fields (such as CSCW, data curation) and areas of interest (software and workflow reproducibility, provenance).

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