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Abstract Detail

Botanical Cyberinfrastructure: Issues, Challenges, Opportunities, and Initiatives

Macklin, James A. [1], Rabeler, Richard K. [2], Morris, Paul J. [3].

Developing a framework for exchange of botanical specimen data to reduce duplicative effort and improve quality using a ‘filtered push’.

THE Herbaria community’s goal of capturing all specimen data (approx. 90 million sheets!) by 2020, looms. A significant amount of duplication of specimens is inherent within North American botanical collections. This duplication is an advantage in two ways: if only captured once it reduces the number of specimens that will require capturing, and when done collaboratively using common resources, a high level of quality control can be maintained. Two long-standing impediments to sharing specimen data between institutions have been a lack of data standards and the diversity of database platforms in use. Progress is being made in standardizing botanical information for incorporation into schema to facilitate exchange in distributed networks. These distributed networks allow unidirectional request-response queries to be made at a node, which has access to the records of any belonging institution. The limitation of this network is realized when a user identifies an error in a record, has additional knowledge to append to a record, or has an expert opinion on the object associated with the record. The second impediment is a significant roadblock to achieving direct exchange with an institution's herbarium database, as they must be safeguarded from non-verified community data being directly added.
Thus, we propose a framework for bi-directional flow involving a central repository and a local holding database that acts as a gateway in and out of an institution's herbarium database. Three core needs are addressed: 1. Gated access with human review of sets of ‘filtered’ information gathered from the community pool before addition into the herbarium database 2. Pre-pooling of community data based on a user request to avoid latency issues while doing live capture 3. ‘Pushing’ annotations based on authoritative specimens and/or expert opinions to a central repository for distribution to relevant local holding databases.

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1 - Harvard University Herbaria, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, USA
2 - University of Michigan, University Herbarium, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48108, USA
3 - The Academy of Natural Sciences, Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, USA

Duplicate Specimens
Data Quality
specimen data capture

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 4-4
Location: 206/Performing Arts Center
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 9:15 AM
Abstract ID:587

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