Monday, April 30, 2007

Biodiversity Informatics relevance

For a long time now, I have been thinking about the relevance of biodiversity informatics in entomology/arachnology circles. Most entomologists grasp the idea of federated data from museums & private collectors, but I don't think many realize the potential for these data in their own research programs or would even think of looking for data outside their immediate reach. Like the majority of ecologists, entomologist/arachnologists do not have any desire to share data. In fact, most will refuse to do so for fear of being "scooped". This may simply be the "old-guard" stigma, but I fear not.

I just read a review in Annual Review of Entomology entitled, "Biodiversity Informatics" by Norm Johnson (doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.52.110405.091259). In all honesty, the review seemed dumbed down and I suspect this wasn't Norm's doing, but was done at the behest of the editor or reviewers. In particular, I would have liked to have seen more on GUIDs and how these relate to aggregation of data, literature, etc. This is sadly lacking and we need real-world reasons or examples for making use of GUIDs and not merely name strings.

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