VoCamp1/WrapUp

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At the VoCamp itself, we considered four questions for open discussion:

  1. What worked?
  2. What didn't work?
  3. What should we do differently next time?
  4. How should you (we) follow up on what we have done here?

We also conducted a series of follow-up teleconferences after the event.

Evaluation of the VoCamp

  1. What worked?
    • Having this coincide and colocate with the TDWG meeting was a great idea.
      • Although one of the downsides from this was that there were competing sessions that created conflicts for various people.
    • Bootcamps were very important.
      • Phyloinformatics bootcamp was the best, right level of detail for attendees to learn,
    • Bootstrapping of each group worked well, each had the expertise they needed.
      • Doing this a-priori would be difficult.
  2. What didn't work?
    • Didn't communicate with potential remote contributors and participants.
    • A lot of learning from each other took place only at the event, maybe could be shifted to happen in advance.
    • Some of the bootcamps were overwhelming in the amount of detail and the speed at which it was presented. More thorough explanation.
      • On the other hand, there is only limited time for each bootcamp.
    • Tools and technologies are often not mature in these endeavors, and therefore just having time in advance may not suffice.
    • More frequent updates, stand-ups, and news updates about what is going on now could be helpful.
    • Meeting room logistics at LIRMM may have taken some time to get us settled.
    • Projectors could have been useful to more than one subgroup.
  3. What should we do differently next time?
    • Better coordinate with the TDWG program committee to minimize conflict of schedule (though there was some coordination as at least one of the participants was also on the TDWG committee).
      • An alternative is to start in advance or extend after the end of the conference, but may be problematic to attend over such a long period.
    • Appropriate bootcamps could be made available in advance as tutorials.
      • Tutorials for tools could also help.
      • Sometimes, having expert(s) within the group can be hugely more effective.
      • Could integrate the introductions with this.
      • Video-taping of bootcamps or tutorials so it is available to others.
    • Taping the final stand-ups might also be good for record keeping.
    • Coordinate with the greater VoCamp community.

Sub-group-specific followup ideas

  1. Triplestore
    • Command-line utility taking a pointer to a file of GBIF occurrence records and a pointer to a kml file as input, and producing a list of all occurrence records bounded by the polygon as output.
    • A massive triplestore of biodiversity knowledge: occurrence records; biodiversity inventories of the world's protected areas; shapes files for protected areas; shapes files for countries and regions; food webs; species profiles; conservation status; invasiveness status; range maps; genomics data; etc.
    • A matrix of rdf constructs and idiosyncracies, and the way they are interpreted by different parsers.
  2. Phyloreferencing
    • Develop a vocabulary ontology in CDAO-discuss
    • PhyloWS mini-hackathon: Reference implementation
    • PhyloWS mini-hackathon: Show me the tree for my group
    • Electronic resources for phyloreferencing community
    • Google Summer of Code (GSOC) project ideas
    • Develop RDFa specification for phyloreferencing metadata markup in XML, HTML, etc.
  3. Taxonomic Reasoning
    • A variety of grant application ideas and future collaborative efforts have been discussed by the team. In particular, Dave Thau is planning to submit an NSF grant.
  4. Publishing taxonomies
    • Considering expanding and deepening the work to the level of a journal, conference, or at least Technical Report publication.
  5. Integrating ontologies
    • Build a web-based service to allow a user to choose two ontologies and align them in order to produce an adapter ontology as an output.
    • Suggestion: querying DarwinCore repositories through character state data as an entry to an data integration challenge?
  6. SADI
    • Will continue to create services that utilize GBIF data.
    • Suggestion: This is one step away from Joel's initial pitch to integrate gene function annotation (through GO) with specimen and locality data.

Other followup Ideas

  • Issue a data integration challenge, or coordinate with one that is already being planned or exists.
    • SONet is planning a data interoperability challenge for its next meeting, maybe there is room for synergy.
    • Front-load competitions by showing that the necessary parts are available and functioning.
  • Knowledge capture initiative for data sources, where to find them, what exists. Many questions revolved around "If I had the data."
  • Find ways to link up the dedicated work forces that may be tasked at participants' home institutions.
  • Utilize the TDWG organization to organize a follow-up meeting early in 2010.
    • Other organizations (such as NESCent, NM State, BioSynC) may provide support for more targeted implementation activities.
  • Letters of support (or collaboration) for NSF grant applications.
  • BioSynC takes proposals for biodiversity synthesis meetings, NESCent takes informatics whitepapers and applications for synthetic Catalysis Meetings and Working Groups.
  • Best practices for ontology development document, such as "10 most important things to consider before developing an ontology."