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      Towards a catalogue of biodiversity databases: An ontological case study

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          Abstract

          Biodiversity informatics depends on digital access to credible information about species. Many online resources host species’ data, but the lack of categorisation for these resources inhibits the growth of this entire field. To explore possible solutions, we examined the (now retired) Biodiversity Information Projects of the World (BIPW) dataset created by the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG); this project, which ran from 2007-2015 (officially removed from the TDWG website in 2018) was an attempt at organising the Web's biodiversity databases into an indexed list. To do this, we applied a simple classification scheme to score databases within BIPW based on nine data categories, to characterise trends and current compositions of this biodiversity e-infrastructure. Primarily, we found that of 600 databases investigated from BIPW, only 315 (~53%) were accessible at the time of this writing, underscoring the precarious nature of the biodiversity information landscape. Many of these databases are still available, but suffer accessibility issues such as link rot, thus putting the information they contain in danger of being lost. We propose that a community-driven database of biodiversity databases with an accompanying ontology could facilitate efficient discovery of relevant biodiversity databases and support smaller databases – which have the greatest risk of being lost.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Big data and the future of ecology

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            Evolutionary informatics: unifying knowledge about the diversity of life.

            The accelerating growth of data and knowledge in evolutionary biology is indisputable. Despite this rapid progress, information remains scattered, poorly documented and in formats that impede discovery and integration. A grand challenge is the creation of a linked system of all evolutionary data, information and knowledge organized around Darwin's ever-growing Tree of Life. Such a system, accommodating topological disagreement where necessary, would consolidate taxon names, phenotypic and geographical distributional data across clades, and serve as an integrated community resource. The field of evolutionary informatics, reviewed here for the first time, has matured into a robust discipline that is developing the conceptual, infrastructure and community frameworks for meeting this grand challenge. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Meta-information concepts for ecological data management

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Biodivers Data J
                Biodivers Data J
                1
                urn:lsid:arphahub.com:pub:F9B2E808-C883-5F47-B276-6D62129E4FF4
                urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:245B00E9-BFE5-4B4F-B76E-15C30BA74C02
                Biodiversity Data Journal
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2836
                1314-2828
                2020
                27 March 2020
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ] University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada University of Guelph Guelph Canada
                [2 ] University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, United States of America University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA United States of America
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Jarrett Blair ( blair@ 123456zoology.ubc.ca ).

                Academic editor: Christos Arvanitidis

                Article
                32765 10566
                10.3897/BDJ.8.e32765
                7125240
                Jarrett Blair, Rodger Gwiazdowski, Andrew Borrelli, Michelle Hotchkiss, Candace Park, Gleannan Perrett, Robert Hanner

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, References: 19
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