Agreement on a long term, platform independent, document format

In order to insure a long term document recovery, the participants
will use the ISO Open Document Format (O.D.F.) for common texts,
presentations and spreadsheets.

An automatic conversion of proprietary formats (Word, Excel and
Power Point) will be provided as a front-end towards the long term

O.D.F. is designed as a XML format, allowing subsequent data mining by future independent applications.

Overview of current work in WP5.4

WP5.4 : a quick overview of who is doing what now, and how it fits together in the broader picture.

The central part in WP5.4 are the "geographic tools", providing taxonomists with an online platform for their daily work : processingdata, visualising data, preparing their publications. The interface should be very user-friendly, so people can use it regardless of their computer skills.

The most visible tool here is CSIC (Pere) work : the Geoplatform Mapviewer for data visualisation.

More advances in EDIT Map Viewer

The EDIT team in Brussels (former in Madrid) is pleased to announce that the currently developed EDIT mapViewer (http://edit.br.fgov.be/edit_wp5/geo/mapviewer/maps.html) already allows not only the upload of user point data, but also its filtering and symbolization. This is an essential and important difference between the last announcement (dated in 02/15/2008). The next step will be the integration of tools to make easier the printing of the resulting maps. The insertion of user data must be in a comma-separated-values text file format (CSV extension).

Advances in component C5.31 Application for distribution maps: Upload and display of user point data

An essential part of EDIT Work Package 5.4 (Geospatial Component) is the development of a free available and easy to use tool able to produce maps for those taxonomists not experienced in the use of GIS programs. Geographic information is nowadays an important part of the information associated with any collected or observed specimen, and this information constitutes an important source of data for basic and applied purposes. At present, this web based application is free available in the EDIT Geoplatform mapViewer (http://edit.csic.es:8080/edit_geo/prototype/edit.html) for the use of all taxonomist community. To divulgate its existence, this text is also published in the new issue of the EDIT Newletter (http://e-taxonomy.eu/files/newsletter7_0208.pdf)

National Botanic Garden of Belgium: The Virtual Herbarium

Few years ago, we have developped a querying on exported data from BG-BASE and direct link to images.
Many specimens have been encoded in BGBase and more than 20.000 of them have been digitized.
Here is a link to a short demo: http://www.br.fgov.be/tap/query.html

Since several months, another colleague is developping a brand new project: "The Virtual Herbarium"

The technology used to implement the project: PHP, PostgreSQL, MySQL.
The search criteria are: Genus, Species, Country, Type specimen, Collector, Barcode number etc...

WP5.3 - Announcement of Survey

This is just to let the community know that I have been asked by Jane Smith to prepare the Requirements Document for the European Virtual Library of Taxonomic Literature (E-ViTL). My aim is finish the report by 6th June. It should then provide a set of criteria, related to user requirements and technical specifications, that will allow tendering for a system to take place.

I am currently in the process of capturing user requirements. Following brainstorming with fellow scientists at NHML, and attendance at the recent WP6 Meeting, I have set up an online questionnaire, which everyone in the EDIT Community is invited to participate - so tell your friends and colleagues! I shall also extend the invitation via the TAXACOM and TDWG listservers.

The survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?A=193016818E830

I shall run the survey until Friday 11th May and shall then start writing the requirements report.

In addition to the questionnaire there is also a debate starting on the WP6 Web Revisions Forum, which you are invited to contribute to: http://www.editwebrevisions.info/forum/17. Alternatively you can always e-mail your thoughts and comments to me : c.hussey (at) nhm.ac.uk.
NOTE: E-ViTL is likely to be a resource discovery tool rather than a repository of full text articles. It could, however, point users to repositories, such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library (http://bhl.si.edu/), online journals and other sources.

There is some debate over whether E-ViTL should attempt to provide reference management functions, in addition to providing access to literature. Also, whether it should be a repository for reference lists, rather than a portal to search distributed repositories. However, the purpose of this survey is to gather user requirements and, although it is unlikely that E-ViTL will be able to incorporate all possible requirements, your views will provide a useful pointer for future development.

Thank you all for your interest.

Charles Hussey

What is Cybertaxonomy?

During the last ISTC Meeting Mark Jackson, Martin Pullan and I engaged in an informal discussion - What is cybertaxonomy?

The term cybertaxonomy has existed before the EDIT project, but there never really has been a formal definition assigned to it other than just "eTaxonomy". I first heard the term used by Quentin Wheeler during the annual Systematics Association Meeting in 2002, however, it was only referred to as a process of integrating etaxonomic resources. Four years later Mark, Martin and I attempted to define it ourselves. Here is what we came up with:

1. A taxonomic work process that involves the use of standardised electronic tools to access information (databases, e-publications) and/or to generate knowledge bases (identification keys) (Malte C. Ebach, BGBM).

2. The process by which information available in, or converted into from non digital sources, standardized electronic format is collated analysed and synthesised into a digital representation of one or more taxon concepts. The end product of which is a combination of outputs in both digital and non-digital formats (Martin Pullan, RBGE).

3. The practice of taxonomy, usually in an online environment, using (and innovating in the use of) software tools (Mark Jackson, RBGK).

Recently Vince Smith (NHML) (http://vsmith.info/node/17990) has also joined the debate adding:

4. The use of computers and the World Wide Web in a program of taxonomic research.

Cybertaxonomy perhaps lies somewhere in between - an integrated way to do taxonomy using standardized electronic tools and resources. Since taxonomists are moving toward an electronic taxonomy or etaxonomy by themselves, a definition will certainly arise one way or the other. Either way, EDIT WP5 is committed to providing the platform that will support etaxonomy, whatever it is termed.