Platform Vision The Internet Platform for Cybertaxonomy consists of interoperable but independent platform components. Platform components can take the form of software applications (desktop or web-based) for human users or (web) services. A service may provide data (a data service), some kind of transformation (a transformation service), validation of data (validation service), or other data processing. The platform as envisioned will not have a single user interface or website; rather, it will be a collection of interacting components which may be combined and assembled according to the task in hand. A major aim of EDIT is the integration of existing software into the platform by means of establishing a common data model. To guide the user through common workflows, a high level abstraction of taxonomic revision and field work will be formulated. It will show typical use cases and guide the user (a taxonomist) to appropriate software tools and resources.
- At the centre of the platform, some of the taxonomic core components, such as a taxonomic desktop editor together with a central datastore with synchronisation capabilities, will support storage, (joined) editing, archiving and publishing of taxonomic content.
- An application and service tracker has been established at http://www.bdtracker.net to document applications, services, and resources (e.g. authority files or maps that can be used as GIS layers). It will be used to review the most important and promising software tools for taxonomists.
- A taxonomic experts database containing information about taxonomic expertise in Europe is being developed by WP5 and maintained by WP2. Taxonomists will be able to update their profile themselves if they like. The user account in this database can potentially be used as a single sign on mechanism for other components in the platform that need authentication, such as annotation or review mechanisms.
- Transformation services will be established to convert to and from the Common Data Model, e.g. into Word Documents, TaxonX, Endnote or Excel spreadsheets serving as taxonomic checklists.
- The virtual taxonomic library - ViTaL, mainly based on the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), will allow users to link to single pages in a publication. Both for specimen (GBIF) and literature (ViTaL), an OpenSearch RSS feed is envisaged to enable simple searches for specimen and literature that can be incorporated into personal mashup sites (for example, see www.netvibes.com), or at a later stage into the personal search and monitor page of the planned experts sites. It will allow users to keep track of new items for frequent searches, e.g. a listing of new specimen entries for a certain region or new species page annotations for a given family.
- An application for managing structured descriptive data will be part of the initial platform as well. In this context, the ongoing reviews of existing descriptive tools, as well as the efforts of the Structured Descriptive Data group of TDWG, will contribute directly to the descriptive part of the Common Data Model. This includes key generating and interactive tools for revisions as well as for inventorying purpuses.
- Geographical components will implement services and applications based on, but concealing, the complexity of the underlying OGC compliant services, e.g. visualisation of distribution maps, itineraries, biogeographical modelling.