Species pages and portals


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A talk presented January 19, 2013 in the Indo-US Joint Workshop on Biodiversity Informatics at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment in Bangalore, India.

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  • Whirlwind tour to EOLAs you may know, Encyclopedia of Life is a web site providing global access to knowledge about life on earth.Global – the whole worldAccess – free, and freely re-usableKnowledge – synthesized, not rawLife on Earth – biological diversity
  • EOL takes information from about 200 sources so far, mostly scientific databases, but also including Flickr and Wikipedia, and automatically sorts it onto on taxon pages based on the names. Within each page, the information is sorted by subject. Our curators can then trust or untrust it, or anybody can provide comments or ratings. About a thousand credentialed scientists have already volunteered to help with quality control. Actions and comments get fed back to the original providers, and the material on EOL is also available to other applications via an Application Programming Interface, which I’ll talk more about in a moment.We’re partnering with over two hundred scientific databases as well as public conribution sites like Flickr and Wikipedia.100+ partner databases700 curators/1000s contributors/46,000 members2.8 million pages500 thousand pages with Creative Commons contentOver 2 million data objects and >1 million pages with links to research literatureTraffic in past year: 1.7 million unique users, 6.2 million page views
  • This is a media gallery for arachnids
  • Collections might be practical, like helping people learn more about the foods that we eat, like posting lists of wanted things, like this list of microorganisms found by Jessica Green in the air ducts of office buildings.Help people put their information in context that are meaningful to them.Do you want crowds to help annotate items in the collection with a controlled vocabulary? Do you want to know the average riches of pages in the collection?
  • These are only checklists that have more than one item.
  • Free for third party applications, as long as licenses are respectedField guidesMobile applicationWeb page widget
  • You can also use EOL for crowd-sourcing. For example, Jennifer Hammock has started a collection called “Mystery associates” and asked people to try to identify the partners shown in photos that have some sort of ecological association. When they’ve been identified, like this sea star and anemone predation interaction, then she moves the image to the “known associates” collection. This adds to the information we have from a bunch of partners on food web interactions, and then would be available for foodweb modelers. There are many other possible ways that the large crowds on EOL could be harnessed to generate new datasets from EOL content. And this is all possible to some degree now.
  • Species pages and portals

    1. 1. Encyclopedia of Life Serving the building blocks of biodiversity knowledgeCynthia Parr @cydparrJoint Indo-US Workshop on Biodiversity Informatics @eolBangelore, 20 January 2013
    2. 2. Problems• Specialist communities make their own species pages• Duplicating effort is costly• Hard to find scattered information• Not always aimed at the right audience• Hard to compare and know what to trust• New applications have to start over The solution?
    3. 3. The solutionsMake sure specialist communities thrive& develop resources they needEncourage coordination and sharing with creditand rewardsProvide tools for data discovery, exchange,improvement & re-use
    4. 4. EOL aggregates and curatesScientific DatabasesScientific JournalsDirect text contributionLinks to BHL, etc. Curate Aggregate Comment Rate, Collect eol.org Quality control API Third party apps
    5. 5. >1.1 million taxon pages with content from more than 200 providers 1000s individual contributors 5 million content objects 63,000 members 1,163 curators
    6. 6. Example biological content on details tabEOL Table of Contents TDWG Species Profile ModelOverview › Distribution #DistributionPhysical Description › Morphology #MorphologyPhysical Description › Size #SizeEcology › Habitat #HabitatEcology › Associations #AssociationsLife History & Behavior › Life Expectancy #LifeExpectancyEvolution and Systematics › Functional Adaptations #EvolutionConservation > Conservation Status #ConservationStatusMolecular Biology and Genetics › Genetics #Genetics
    7. 7. Total of 1,475,404 images 9,756 videos 28,576 sounds
    8. 8. Maps
    9. 9. Literature
    10. 10. EOL curationMaster curators Full curators Assistant Curators Add & prefer common names Trust or untrustFix taxon Set exemplar imageproblems Add new ID Set preferred Members name and classification Rate Comment Add new text
    11. 11. Norway Dutch USA Taiwan Mexico China Egypt India Costa Rica Colombia Peru Australia South AfricaEOL interface now in 12 languagesVia translatewiki.org
    12. 12. India Biodiversity Portal content
    13. 13. Engagement: Collections
    14. 14. Many user-created EOL collections are local checklists Geographical checklists n=618 Other lists n=1662
    15. 15. Chitra Ravi’s AvesIndia collection . . .
    16. 16. Becomes an iNaturalist.org citizen science project
    17. 17. Third party applications eol.org/api
    18. 18. Future plans Controlled vocabulary Numeric values Relations EOL v3
    19. 19. 2013 Rubenstein Fellows projectsAnnouncing seven new projects using: Text mining, visualization, crowd-sourcing, computer vision, R statistics moduleAnswering questions from: Evolutionary biology, ecology, conservation biology, taxonomy
    20. 20. Crowd-sourcing for computable dataLovell and Libby Langstroth, Calphotos Foodwebs.org
    21. 21. Summary• Focus on building blocks• Multiple audiences• Scalable• Sustainable• ImprovableBuilding Species Pages workshop 4 – 6pm todayparrc@si.edu
    22. 22. Thanks toOur funders John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Smithsonian Institution Marine Biological Laboratory David Rubenstein and other funders and donorsAll our content providers and global partnersVolunteer curators and individual contributors via Flickr, Wikimedia, and members of EOLATREE and all of you