HISCOM 2003 AGM Melbourne

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The 2003 HISCOM Annual General Meeting was held in Melbourne from 23 – 25 September, 2003. This document represents the report to CHAH (and thus not the complete minutes).

Operation of HISCOM

Issue 1

HISCOM needs to have the structure and systems to communicate effectively.

Recommendation to CHAH 1

That the following HISCOM members be subscribed to the HISCORE-L email list to facilitate sensitive discussion: Peter Bostock(BRI), Ian Cowie(NT), Bill Barker(AD), Greg Whitbread(CANB), Peter Neish(MEL), Ken Hill(NSW), Alison Melrose(HO), Ben Richardson(PERTH).

Recommendation to CHAH 2

HISCOM trial the use of tele-conferencing in the same manner as CHAH with the first one for December 2003

Action 1

Peter Neish to send HISCOM archive to Greg Whitbread who will merge with current archive (November 2003).

Action 2

Ask Barry Conn if the HISCOM web site should be moved to a server to enable collaborative management (eg Sourceforge). (HISCOM Coordinator)

Agreement 1

Peter Bostock nominated for HISCOM coordinator – accepted unanimously by HISCOM members.

Monitoring AVH performance

Action 3

Continue to provide feedback if node not responding (All HISCOM members)


Issue 2

Adherence to the existing HISPID standard when interchanging data and incorporating corrections and new features to the standard.

Action 4

Continue to discuss exchange data quality issues on HISCOM-L (All HISOM members).

Action 5

Continue to identify problems with HISPID exchange and discuss on HISCOM-L (All HISCOM members).

Action 6

Put import and export filters that have been developed to assist in data loading on to the Sourceforge site (All HISCOM members).

Action 7

Put corrections and comments on HISPID5 on the Sourceforge web site (All HISCOM members).

Action 8

Add reference to HISPID to the ABCD schema metadata (Jim Croft).

AVH Software

Recommendation to CHAH 3

Each public AVH node should provide identical features including a common set of national layers. Any state-based customisation should be done on a separate installation.

Action 9

Place common set of layers on to MEL cvs server:

  • Coastline
  • Rivers
  • Major towns
  • IBRA regions
  • Satellite regions
  • Topography
  • Temperature
  • Rainfall
  • Roads
  • Lat long grid

(All HISCOM members)

Action 10

Peter Bostock to post BRI Mapper to Sourceforge or MEL cvs web site (December 2003).

Action 11

Ask David Cumming (BRI) to implement suggested change to telephone subroutine to enable authentication of private data providers (Peter Bostock).

Issue 3

There is a need to specify the development path for the AVH system.

Action 12

Collate work required to complete current AVH implementation (All HISCOM, November 2003).

Action 13

Develop specification for redevelopment of the AVH software (All HISCOM, November 2003).

Action 14

Use completed specification to cost and compare implementation options (Bill Barker to coordinate, December 2003).

Data validation

Action 15

Ask Paul Gioia if he would be prepared to put PERTH data validation routines on to the Sourceforge web site. (Ken Hill, December 2003)

Recommendation to CHAH 4

Each herbarium to provide summary of all current validation procedures (AVH coordinators – ARM representatives).


Action 16

Post ABIF-Flora schema on the Sourceforge web site (Greg Whitbread, December 2003).

Action 17

Post to HISCOM-L when the ABIF flora site goes live (Robyn Lawrence).


Ken Walker (Museum of Victoria gave a presentation to HISCOM and participated in a discussion about OZCAM and its parallels with the AVH.

Issue 4

A recognition of common aims and objectives by both OZCAM and the AVH and the desire to be able to share data. This needs a common data standard.

Issue 5

OZCAM has ratified ABIF as the Australian GBIF node for the Australian Fauna data. There may be opportunities for funding if CHAH follows the same approach. In this case CHAH should consider allowing ABRS to set up its own AVH node for the purpose of providing data to GBIF.

Issue 6

OZCAM has set up a single portal hosted through AMOL. This allows for a single point of authentication and simplifies administration and security.

Recommendation to CHAH 5

Ensure that AVH can meet GBIF standards.

Consensus Census

Issue 7

We don’t have a consensus census.

Recommendation to CHAH 6

As a first step, provide information about plant names on the front page of the AVH with links to sources of information (eg APNI, Florabase, state census lists etc.) as a guide to refining the list of names you wish to query on.

Recommendation to CHAH 7

On the ‘curation level’ AVH site provide a mechanism to query state census databases to return status and synonymy of the name. This information could then be used to query the AVH, or used as a curation tool.

Action 18

Compile a list of attributes used to indicate relationships between names eg. Types of synonymy – send to Greg Whitbread (All HISCOM, before Oct 20 2003).

Action 19

To develop a standard for sharing census data (possibly as an extension of HISPID) based on the above list, and taking into consideration any outcomes from TDWG names sub group (HISCOM).

Recommendation to CHAH 8

Develop consensus census database based on specialist input which indicates the CHAH preferred name.

Recommendation to CHAH 9

CHAH considers a policy to include the capture of taxonomic concepts in the recording of names on determinavits. This will help resolve differing usage of names in Australian herbaria and facilitate a consensus census.

Informal Names

Recommendation to CHAH 10

Avoid recording quotes and apostrophes in database. This can be added at time of data export.

Recommendation to CHAH 11

Delimiter between phrase and source, no other delimiter is necessary:

Genus sp. phrase (Coll. no.) source


A number of reports and presentations were made by the meeting attendees – summaries to be forwarded to Peter Neish for inclusion here.

  • Emma Lumb – AFFA on APPD.
  • Robyn Lawrence – ABIF-Flora
  • Aaron Wilton – CHR
  • Bill Barker – AD
  • Ken Hill – NSW
  • Peter Bostock – BRI
  • Alex Chapman – PERTH
  • Greg Whitbread – CANB
  • Alison Melrose – HO
  • Peter Neish – MEL

Peter Neish conducted a short tour of the Melbourne Herbarium, in particular the AVH databasing area.

Other business

Recommendation to CHAH 12

HISCOM see potential for a collaboration with Taiwan. More information is needed. Jim Croft to follow up.

Next HISCOM meeting

Recommendation to CHAH 13

For CHAH and HISCOM to meet in New Zealand, coinciding with GBIF (4 th Oct 04 WELL) and possibly TDWG (CHR)

ARM Report — HISCOM response

ARM Action 1

We assume that this action is to do with comparison between data entry rates as a measurements of performance. HISCOM encourages the AVH coordinators to establish a standard for data entry performance.

ARM Action 4

HISCOM is taking action to ensure that data downloading features of the AVH software are completed.

Action 20

Each HISCOM representative to ensure that their institution has a mechanism to load exchange data (eg. a holding database) as appropriate for their institution (All HISCOM members, December 2003).

ARM Action 7

This concern will be addressed through the development of the consensus census.

ARM Action 8

The determination on the specimen should be the same as in the database. Notification of a change of determination of duplicates would be a useful curation tool.

ARM Action 9

HISCOM agrees that this is a good idea, most states have this already.

ARM Action 10

Gazetteers can be shared now subject to licensing. In addition, we will include an equivalent system in the AVH upgrade.

ARM Action 12

Action 21

Create ARM-L email list with P. Kodela as administrator (Greg Whitbread)

Action 22

All HISCOM members to inform their AVH coordinators about the existence of the list and how to subscribe (All HISCOM members)

ARM Action 20 and 21

This has been addressed in HISCOM discussions refer HISCOM action 15 and recommendation to CHAH 4.