HISCOM Teleconference February 2016

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Laurence Paine (HO), Aaron Wilton (CHR), Anne Fuchs (CANB), Niels Klazenga (MEL), Donna Lewis (DNA - Chair), Wayne Cherry (NSW), Rebecca Pirzl (ALA), Nick dos Remedios (ALA), Michael Hope (ALA), Robyn Lawrence (ABRS), Ainsley Calladine (AD), Eleanor Crichton (AD), Ian Cowie (CHAH rep.), Michelle Waycott (CHAH Chair), Gill Brown (BRI), Ryonen Butcher (ALA CCC), Ursula Smith (GBIF rep.)


Ben Richardson (PERTH), Jeremy Bruhl (UNE), Simon Checksfield (CSIRO)


Status of actions from 2015 annual meeting

October 2015 AGM Action items

GBIF update (Ursula Smith)

Ursula Smith is the new GBIF manager for the Australia/Pacific? Ursula provided an update from the 2015 meeting in Madagascar. Outcomes of the meeting included:

  • introduced DOI's on each dataset, 'Object ID' will be tracked in publications,
  • country statistics are published which includes summaries about and from available data in GBIF,
  • updated licensing terms for hosted data, trying to make consistent across datasets. AVH is all CC-BY,
  • introducing sample-based datasets as well as observational. This will include environmental and ecological data in Darwin Core Event Class,
  • Biodiversity development funds for 'Africa Rising Conference' for under-resourced areas, 2016-17 will focus on the Pacific and Caribbean,
  • Joanne Daly (budget Chair) - change in finance structure.
Action 1: Michelle to put Ursula in contact with Darren Crayn as GBIF rep for CHAH (Michelle).
Action 2: Ursula to provide PowerPoint presentation for Donna to circulate to HISCOM.

TDWG update (Aaron)

Next TDWG Conference is in Costa Rica 5-9th December 2016. Greg and Aaron are the Oceania reps on the TDWG executive. Currently undergoing background structural work. Review documents are being circulated to financial members for comment and vote. FCIG proposed CHAFC become an institutional member but that has not happened. HISCOM also proposed CHAH become an institutional member (in 2013 already), however it was agreed at a past teleconference that CHAH encourage individual herbaria to become members. At the moment, MEL is the only herbarium in Austral(as)ia that is an institutional member.

Other dates to consider..

  • ASBS - 26th Sept 2016 in Alice Springs.
  • CHAH AGM - NZ proposed for Nov.
  • HISCOM/MAHC - not confirmed.

AVH update (Niels)

Business as usual. Re-indexed datasets last week for DNA, CANB, CNS and JCT. BRI supplied new data as well, but BRI supplies directly to ALA.

Australasian Virtual Herbarium update (Aaron)

Aaron has access to edit the static content on the AVH website in prep for the launch. Michael Hope is currently working on new names index to include NZ species data. Test environment is in place, need to move AVH code, redirect to BIE. Test environment to be available in 2 weeks and circulated to CHAH, HISCOM, MAHC and NZ/Aust. Herbaria as appropriate for testing prior to releasing.

National Species List (NSL) update (Anne)

There is a well defined program of work for this financial year including testing parts of outstanding shards:

  • mosses (soon available in production),
  • fungi,
  • algae,
  • lichen (Niels suggested lichens should not be a separate shard).

These will be available through their own domains.

The tree editor will allow people to maintain their own trees, taxonomic hierarchy's. Enabling a process that will allow better APC workflow.

ALA Strategic Plan (Biological Collections) (Michelle/Donna)

The main purpose of the teleconference was for HISCOM to identify the priorities of the Botanical community to feed into the ALA Strategic Planning process - Biological Collections focus area to be held in Canberra 17-18th February 2016.

HISCOM discussed the need for a solid infrastructure and ongoing support for maintenance with regards to the AVH and eFlora platform. This was the highest priority and the need to ensure ongoing funding and contingency plans for the future maintenance of current systems. Other priorities discussed were the improved management of names and taxonomy lists in line with the NSL, the need to improve the management and delivery of images, and improve the annotations service.

In summary top 4 priorities:

  • Solid infrastructure
  • Names (in line with NSL)
  • Images
  • Annotations Service

Other potential activities areas were discussed and agreed that they were not priorities in the shorter term. These included the national digitisation effort. The citizen science apps and tools are seen to be useful tools, but are not a priority at this point.

HISCOM members agreed is was necessary to identify achievable priorities for ALA Strategic Planning, as well as identifying longer term priorities in which the group have not yet identified apart from the obvious 'maintaining current systems'.

Action 3: Prepare a priority list for CHAH to comment prior to the ALA Biological Collections Workshop (Michelle/Donna/Ryonen).
Action 4: Present vision/plan on behalf of CHAH at the ALA Biological Collections Workshop (Michelle).
Action 5: Provide an update to HISCOM the outcomes of the ALA Biological Collections Workshop (Donna).

HISPID Review (Niels, Aaron, Ben, Anne)

Aaron has been closing GitHub issues from the Hobart AGM 2015. There were 5 issues remaining that were discussed and ratified (if necessary).

  • DNA sequences - already Darwin Core element (HISCOM agreed to include)
  • mixture of terminologies (under review, recommended, deprecated or DwC equivalent)
  • Subject Category
  • Subtype (mediaItem)
  • Image Subject Category
Action 6: Provide vocab for #5 HISPID GitHub issue 'Image Subject Category' (Laurence).
Action 7: Add to vocabs for #5 HISPID GitHub issue 'Image Subject Category', and #60 'subtype (MediaItem) (ALL).

From this point forward it is house keeping to complete the new version of HISPID prior to formally publishing.


  • finalise end of February 2016
  • HISCOM to do a final check of the terms from the PDF and machine versions
  • formally publish in March (even though its available, HISCOM agreed to put a date on the version)
  • implementation
    • many of the new terms can already be delivered; Niels has a CMF template he can make available after it is being updated; translation files from ABCD and HISPID 5 are available, so the process should be rather painless (and optional anyway)
    • herbaria that deliver correctly according to previous versions of HISPID don't need to change anything right away
    • custom AVH – non-Darwin Core – fields that have been delivered to ALA need to change their identifiers to the new HISPID URIs. We've also agreed to stop delivering quite a few. Niels will arrange this with the ALA data management team
    • eventually, adopt new classes such as Permit and MediaItem when providers are ready.

The HISPID terms can be found at http://hiscom.chah.org.au/hispid/terms. Vocabularies are at http://hiscom.chah.org.au/hispid/vocabulary/.