The establishment of Canadensys has helped Canadian researchers and citizens to have easy access to the biodiversity data curated in Canadian universities and museums, with more than 3 million specimens and observations records published as of April 2018. As more data is made available, new opportunities for projects and needs arise from the community: how to publish new types of data and improve data quality, how to use the data available to answer critical scientific and conservation planning questions?
In order to maximize the quality of data published on both the GBIF and an Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) platforms (using Canadensys as the ALA model), and to encourage use of data for scientific research, users and partners require the possibility to learn and experience how the Canadensys and GBIF data portals work. Numerous powerful tools have been developed through the GBIF network and the Biodiversity Informatics community, but are not widely used by the people actively cleaning, sharing and analysing data in Canada. To ensure the development of best practices in Canada and in partner countries, training of the community appears as the key.
Through this project, a series of workshops will be arranged in Canada alongside the development of multilingual documentation to help users of the ALA framework and GBIF portal to efficiently use and get the most from the platforms and tools available. The workshops and documentation will be developed in coordination with partners from GBIF Spain, iDigBio, VertNet, CBIF and the Canadian Museum of Nature, with the aim to develop Biodiversity Informatics skills for data managers and users. Participants from a range of scientific communities will learn about the ALA framework, the GBIF data portal, metrics and data cleaning tools. Through practical support, there will also be opportunities for participants to work on their own datasets with guidance through the data publication process.
During the first half of the project, documentation for the planned workshops was developed in English and then used at the two workshops held in Nova Scotia (Acadia University, Wolfville), in October 2018 and the other in British Colombia (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) in November 2018. This documentation (both theory and practical exercises) focused on data publishing, data quality enhancement, usage of the ALA Explorer and GBIF Explorer and data-usage.
These workshops were received positively by the community and all participants declared in their post-workshop surveys being more skilled having attended the workshops.
The second half the project will mostly focus on revising current documentation, preparing this for publication and building on the intended knowledge network. Consideration will also be given to developing the communication channel to reach more efficiently to the project’s current and potential communities.
The third workshop, expected to be held in Ottowa in early Spring 2019 will also be planned, together with activities to translate documentation into French and Spanish and possibly Portuguese.