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VoCamp Home

This is the home page for the "Phyloinformatics VoCamp" workshop event scheduled to take place in coordination with the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) meeting in Montpellier, France, in November, 2009.


Integrating diverse biological data with the historical process of evolution is a grand challenge for 21st century biology. The interoperability of data from diverse fields (e.g., genetics, ecology, biodiversity, biomedicine) requires a technology infrastructure based on formalized, shared vocabularies. Developing such vocabularies is a community project. In order to build controlled vocabularies and ontologies, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) is sponsoring a "Phyloinformatics VoCamp".

The Phyloinformatics VoCamp is a hands-on meeting for investigators to create and develop ontologies and lightweight vocabularies in support of integration and semantic cross-linking of evolutionary data with its many related fields. It was be held on November 7-11, 2009 in Montpellier, France, co-localized with the annual meeting of the International Biodiversity Information Standards Organization (TDWG).

Subgroups and Outcomes

The VoCamp took place Nov 7 to 11 and resulted in 5 subgroup projects and 1 mini-project (links are in the sidebar):

  1. The Integrating Ontologies focused on specific data integration problems using CDAO, TDWG and other ontologies (John, Julie, Brandon, Rosemary, Peter, Stan, Rutger)
  2. Taxonomic Reasoning project took a more conceptual top-down approach to identifying needs in data integration (Dave T, Ann, David K, Raven, Dan, Mark S, Farshid)
  3. The Phyloreferencing group developed a rough draft of a spec for a PhyloWS language for querying trees (Hilmar, Josh, Nico, Sheldon, Karen, Bill, Arlin, Cate)
  4. The Publishing Taxonomies group aims to develop guidelines for publishing and consuming taxonomies (Roger, Jonathan, Greg)
  5. The TripleStore project focused on an AllegroGraph installation (Joel, Chris)
  6. In a mini-project, Mark W extended the SADI system to integrate some biodiversity data

On the afternoon of the 4th day we compiled feedback and plans for follow-up. The event and its outcomes were also presented (see zip'ed Keynote and PDF versions) to the TDWG conference audience on Friday, Nov 13, two days after the end of the VoCamp.

Resources and Links

VoCamp resources:

Links and historical information


The VoCamp event is an official activity of the TDWG Interest Group on Phylogenetic Standards and takes place through the generous support of NESCent, which funded a VoCamp proposal written by the organizers:

  • Nico Cellinese
  • Karen Cranston
  • Hilmar Lapp
  • Sheldon MacKay
  • Enrico Pontelli
  • Arlin Stoltzfus

The VoCamp proposal, in turn, builds on previous support from NESCent, which sponsored the Evolutionary Informatics Working Group. The EvoInfo working group, which was active from 2006 to 2009, spawned the NeXML, CDAO and PhyloWS projects, and helped to organize 2 hackathons.

The organizers also thank TDWG and LIRMM for their generous support. We are particularly grateful to Elizabeth Arnaud (CGIAR), Max Ruas (CGIAR), Brigitte Cabantous (Agropolis), and Therese Libourel (LIRMM) for their invaluable assistance throughout the organization of the VoCamp.