Have We Got the Names “Right”?

The Consortium of Northeastern Herbaria met at the Biodiversity Centre at the University of Montreal on Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14. Talks on Friday were split into two engaging sessions on outreach and updates on member activities. A workshop was held on Saturday entitled, “Nomenclature & Taxonomy in Collections: Have we got the [...]

New Features and Data in the Explorer

Last week, we released a new version of the Canadensys Explorer that has a number of new capabilities. Many of these enhancements were implemented in collaboration with Dr. James Macklin, Research Scientist, Botany and Biodiversity Informatics at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility (CBIF) in partnership with Canadensys intends to use the [...]

Enhancements to the VASCAN Checklist Builder

The Vascular Plants of Canada website received some updates to its checklist builder today, making it easier to use. Provinces and Territories on the map are now clickable, the main occurrence options were reworded, and treatment of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland is now more explicit. Saint Pierre and Miquelon & Greenland The Vascular [...]

TDWG 2013

Biodiversity Information Standards (aka Taxonomic Database Working Group or TDWG) held it’s annual conference the week of October 28th 2013 in Florence, Italy. TDWG was formed to establish international collaboration between biological database projects. It promotes the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the World’s heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of [...]

VASCAN’s Web Service 0.1

Today we released a web service for the database of Vascular Plants of Canada (VASCAN). We did this in response to several requests from users that are not well fulfilled via a web site or via custom downloads. This new capability was several weeks in the making because we took great care to develop a [...]

Customizing the IPT v 2.0.5

In a much older post Peter Desmet, the first Biodiversity Informatics Manager for Canadensys, described how he adjusted the look & feel of our default installation of GBIF’s Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), v. 2.0.3. With a few adjustments to some key files such as a stylesheet and a handful of templates, our IPT repository resembled [...]

An indoor field trip: visiting Canada’s national spider collection

This is a guest post by Dr. Christopher Buddle that originally appeared on his blog, Arthropod Ecology. Last week I traveled up to Ottawa with two of my students – our goal was to visit the Arachnid collection at the Canadian National Collection of Insects (CNCI) (and Arachnids and Nematodes). The spider collection is housed [...]

Canadensys explorer surpasses 1M records

We are pleased to announce that the Canadensys Explorer has surpassed one million occurrence records contributed by its partners. This milestone represents over a third of what we aim to help mobilize by end of 2013 and showcases the immense human effort at each partnering institution as well as the capacity of the Candensys technical [...]

Leafcutter bee new to science with specimen data on Canadensys

Dr. Cory Sheffield, Research Scientist & Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina, SK had a paper published April 3, 2013 in the journal ZooKeys in which he named and described Megachile chomskyi. This new species of leafcutter bee is approximately 13mm long, has a relatively long tongue, white pubescence and [...]

Launch of Tools and Services

We’re pleased to launch a new Tools section on our data portal. This first instance contains web forms and programming interfaces that convert geographic coordinates in degrees/minutes/seconds to decimal degrees and to atomize dates into numerical representations of day, month, and year. We welcome any feedback you may have on the speed, accuracy, and presentation [...]

Link Love: DOIs for Darwin Core Archives

Canadensys now assigns digital object identifiers (DOIs) to the Darwin Core Archives (DwC-A) it hosts and serves via its Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) repository of checklist and occurrence data. For example, the DOI for the Royal Ontario Museum’s Green Plant Herbarium (TRT) is doi:10.5886/g7j6gct1 and that for the University of Montréal Biodiversity Centre’s Marie-Victorin Herbarium [...]

Delightful Explorations

The Canadensys Explorer is reaching 1M collection records. As this landmark nears, we realize that its dynamic map is becoming less usable. The recognition of patterns and the ability to zoom in to specific collection localities are becoming challenging tasks. With the help of Vizzuality, we are investigating dynamic clustering methods that are triggered when [...]

New Canadensys explorer features: stats view & occurrence pages

We are happy to announce two new features for the Canadensys explorer: stats view & occurrence pages. Stats view In addition to map and table view, you can now display basic statistics about your query in stats view. Just click the button at the top and the explorer will crunch the numbers for you. The [...]

How (not) to design a checklist

This guest post by David Baxter originally appeared on the One2Many blog. Last week the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and some other local organizations coordinated a Bioblitz in Rouge Park, an urban wilderness park in Toronto. In a sentence, a bioblitz is an event where expert biologists, naturalists, and volunteers all come together in an [...]

Launch of the Canadensys explorer

This post is also available in French. We are very pleased to announce the beta version of the Canadensys explorer. The tool allows you to explore, filter, visualize and download all the specimen records published through the Canadensys network. The explorer currently aggregates nine published collections, comprising over half a million specimen records, with many [...]

Why we should publish our data under Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

With the first datasets getting published and more coming soon, the issue comes up under what license we – the Canadensys community and the individual collections – will publish our data. Dealing with the legal stuff can be tedious, which is why we have looked into this issue with the Canadensys Steering Committee & Science [...]

New terms in Darwin Core

For the first time since its ratification in October 2009, Darwin Core has been revised! But don’t panic: it’s probably not going to affect your data publication. Darwin Core is a community standard, so anyone can submit ideas, suggestions or corrections via the Darwin Core issue tracker (guidelines to do so can be found here). [...]

VASCAN portal and database are now open source

The Database of Vascular Plants of Canada (VASCAN) web portal and its database are now open source. The code is hosted on our Google Code site and can be used by anyone to create their own checklist portal. By doing so, we hope that the time and effort that went into developing VASCAN can benefit [...]

Updating a customized IPT

This is a follow-up of the post Customizing the IPT. As mentioned at the very end of my post about customizing the IPT, I face a problem when I want to install a new version of the GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit: installing it will overwrite all my customized files! Luckily Tim Robertson gave me a [...]

How many species?

This guest post by Terry Wheeler originally appeared on the Lyman Entomological Museum blog. One of the fundamental rules of running a business is that you have to keep track of your inventory. If you don’t know what’s in the warehouse, or who works for you, you’re not going to get very far as a [...]

VASCAN functionalities

This post is also available in French. Our Database of a vascular plants of Canada (VASCAN) is a bit over a year old now (launched on October 22, 2010) and the response has been great so far! The site is averaging 1,850 visits / 20,500 page views a month from over a 100 countries, and [...]

Counting all specimens at the Marie-Victorin Herbarium

Last summer, 36 volunteers inventoried all of the 22,000+ vascular plant specimen folders of our Marie-Victorin Herbarium (MT), in preparation of its move to the Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre. I gave a talk about the process, results and potential two weeks ago at the TDWG 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans: You can read [...]

Opening a Darwin Core Archive with Excel

One of the editors of VASCAN asked me for an Excel file with all the vernacular names in our database, so she could check them for typos. As the database administrator, I could have exported the names from our MySQL database, but I chose to approach the request from a user’s perspective instead. All VASCAN [...]

Customizing the IPT

This post originally appeared on the GBIF Developer Blog. One of my responsibilities as the Biodiversity Informatics Manager for Canadensys is to develop a data portal giving access to all the biodiversity information published by the participants of our network. A huge portion of this task can now be done with the GBIF Integrated Publishing [...]

Specify at the Biodiversity Centre

This post replaces an obsolete static page of the Canadensys website, which was last updated on June 8, 2010. We have since moved to FileMaker Pro for our database needs, which – although not perfect or cheap – allows batch importing, editing and exporting: features missing from Specify at the time (see also my message [...]

Technology behind the community website

This post replaces an obsolete static page of the Canadensys website, which was last updated on May 28, 2010. The community portal is powered by WordPress, an excellent and easy-to-use open-source Content Management System (CMS) using PHP and MySQL. It allows us to create blog posts, update pages, add translations and edit settings from a [...]