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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Barkworth, Mary E [1], Wilkinson-Lamb, Sara [2], Dyreson, Curtis [3], Cobb, Neil [4].

Extending the impact of digitization and biodiversity networks.

Digitization has expanded rapidly during the last ten years. In the US, Symbiota has contributed significantly to this expansion, partly because it permits browser-based data entry. Nevertheless, there are many specimens in US herbaria that are not digitized, many parts of the world where digitization and data sharing has scarcely started, and potential forms of collaboration that have not been explored. Symbiota can be used to address these issues. In the US, employment of prison inmates can help address the enormous number of specimens still needing to be databased but they are not allowed internet access. Outside the US, the problem is often slow or intermittent internet access. Both issues could be addressed by a synchronization program that permits upload of new or modified records to a network from a local database and download of new names and other standardized information from the network database to local databases. Another issue, particularly when working across national boundaries, is the taxonomic backbone to be adopted. No matter what source is used, there will be participants that disagree strongly with parts of it and part that need to be changed to reflect ongoing research. We propose modifying Symbiota so that any user can view the taxonomic tree being used and review short summaries of the reasons for new or controversial decisions. This would also help reduce the perception that taxonomic decisions are arbitrary and/or capricious. It would not eliminate disagreements. Development of such summaries could be incorporated into graduate classes in taxonomy. If they were incorporated into an international, online course, they would encourage all involved to think beyond regional and national boundaries. These and other potential benefits of digitization and data-sharing that require relatively small changes in existing programs will be discussed.

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Related Links:
OpenHerbarium, a network for herbaria in countries without a biodiversity network
Symbiota, open access software for promoting collaboration
Somaliland Biodiversity Foundation, building biodiversity capacity in Somaliland

1 - Somaliland Biodiversity Foundation, 397 Lauralin Drive, Logan, Utah, 84321, United States
2 - Dagget County School District, Adult Education, PO Box 118, 45 West 200 North, Manila, UT, 84046, USA, 4352394948
3 - Utah State University, Computer Science Department, 4205 Old Main Hill , Logan, UT, 84322-4205, USA
4 - Northern Arizona University, Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, 617 S. Beaver St., Flagstaff, AZ, 86011-5640, USA

biodiversity informatics
international collaboration

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 26, Conservation Biology I
Location: 104/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 1:45 PM
Number: 26002
Abstract ID:323
Candidate for Awards:None

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