mcebach's blog

C5.3.1 Survey of existing digital library activity, principles and standards

Component C5.3.1 provides an overview of existing Digital Library activity, taking into account established principles and standards in the field. It examines practices and standards related to the accompanying software specification and other deliverables for work package 5.3. of the EDIT project.

C5.2.1.1 Draft functional model and bottleneck report for revisionary taxonomy

As of March 2007, 14 models have been produced from interview, eight of which have been reviewed and posted on the EDIT wiki. The interviews have been targeted towards the criteria for selecting candidates, as agreed at the modeller’s meeting in Berlin during September 2006. These were; geographical coverage, taxonomic group (2 interviews each), environment of taxonomic groups, techniques used, and size of organisation.
Details of these criteria appear in appendix 1. So far, progress is as follows:

WP5 Open Biodiversity Applications and Services Review Platform

Markus Döring and Andreas Kohlbecker are busy preparing the open biodiversity applications and services review platform (we are still finding an appropriate acronym for it). They hope to get it online within next month’s component deadline. We will post an announcement once the review platform it is up and running. Watch this space!

WP5 wiki has been updated

The WP5 wiki has been updated. All the public content is now up on the WP5 blog with only internal WP5 documents remaining for WP5 partners only.

WP5 & 6 Meeting in Berlin 17.04.2007

WP5 & 6 met on 17.04.2007 in order to discuss coordination activities including with CATE, which is a NERC (UK) funded etaxonomy project. The meeting overall was positive and has helped in determining the role of CATE and the WP5 work-package.

WP5 Modeler's Meeting Budapest 07-08.05.2007

The WP5 Modeler's Meeting will be held at the Hotel Szent György Kúria, Budapest on 07-08.05.2007.

For more information concerning accommodation and travel to Hungary please contact Andras Gubanyi.

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) ( 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.

WP5 Update 1

In last few weeks the WP5 team have been busy finalising the second 18 month EDIT budget and work plan (JPA). The new 18 month plan (see under About) has 5 new activities extrapolated from the original work plan. The new activities include WP5.5 lead by Anton Güntsch (BGBM) that deals with taxonomic core components; WP5.6 lead by Regine Vignes (MNHN) specialises in descriptive tools; WP5.7 lead by Robert Tolksdorf (FUB) investigates communication tools; WP5.8 lead by the BGBM deals with publications support tools and WP5.9 is investigating specimen access platform components.

The WP5 team have also completed two deliverables in the first 18 Month period (Months 0 - 11). These are WP5.2.1.1 (RBGK) Draft functional model and bottleneck report for revisionary taxonomy and WP5.3.1.1 (NHML) Existing Digital Library activity, principles and standards. The deliverables are currently available to all WP5 members on the WP5 wiki.

Information Science & Technology Committee (ISTC)

ISTC is still looking for members from EDIT partner institutions. If you are interested in joining the ISTC or would like your institution to be represented please contact Malte C. Ebach (WP5 Coordinator) providing the name and contact details of the appropriate person. Typically this would be a person responsible for the institutions IT department, a biologist chairing the institutions IT group, or some similar responsible position.

Publishing of taxonomic data. Webinterface mockups available.

Two exemplar goups in WP6 have developed mockups for webinterfaces to publish taxomic data. A draft for the Cichorieae can be found here:, for the palms here:

Syndicate content