Discussion Group : Desired uses of the palaeodatabase
Chair: T. Giesecke Rapporteur: M.J. Bunting
What is the database for?
- An archive for pollen analysts and for the future (e.g. WDC)?
- A way to produce community level syntheses?
- For the benefit of other user groups?
Who are the users?
- Primarily palynologists - agreed that other users were likely to want syntheses e.g. vegetation
maps, so their requests would be filtered through a palynologist - but is this true?
- Need to find out if other user groups exist. and what they might need.
- Also saw no clear distinction between data contributors and takers-out of data.
- Some of us think we should consult other user communities...
- ...and communicate with other communities AT THIS STAGE
What do we want?
- A database that works and works soon!
- That data is easy to get in and easy to get out
- That all data is .good quality. (who defines it? See later)
- That people are happy to submit their data
- That the database contains as much data as possible
- That people are confident about the protocols and abide by them
- That the database helps build a stronger palynological community in Europe
- Maybe that supervisors/data owners (e.g. funding councils, universities) can encourage/require that data be deposited? (E.g. gene sequencing model: databasing a requirement to publish)
What do contributors get?
- Archive - timeless preservation, extra data security
- Community - seems to be a common issue.
Encouraging a community
- Quick and dirty. data visualisations e.g. time-slice, taxon comparison.
- Attractive for outreach/teaching
- Mailing list
- personal record page so can see who has accessed data?
- Version numbers for d.base so can cite better
- Chat spaces - fora
- Want to see results of larger analyses returned to the database (or announced via the e-mail group)
- Having at least the basic information available in languages in addition to English
- Want to see restricted data option used to include unpublished stuff like Master.s theses and to
show dots for work in progress
- Have classes of dots - some have full data behind them, others only minimal metadata, others metadata
and a pdf of the unpublished diagram (e.g. from thesis) - model: Irish PD, SPAD
- Value of metadata-dots for encouraging multi-proxy studies on existing cores
- Meta-data goes up at the start of a project.
- Maybe have this as a user-only space?
What might users want to do?
- Download entire database
- Download individual sites
- Search like APD by country, age range etc. - also minimum count #, # dates available, bulk or ams etc.
- Maybe want only .top layer data. - complete sets, which should be timeless
- Maybe want to know what.s going on now - dynamic. Should feed into timeless archive - needs attention and curation
- Ability to download all references for sites accessed - cite as appendix online in journal if not in bibliog.
- Download prepared summary/summaries of some sort (e.g. from published synthetic studies, summary data in a common
format. pre-digested data)
Metadata and additions we.d like to see
- A more interactive database
- Sediment stratigraphy, site type
- Should there be a bare minimum needed to make the data of any use (location??). Have to establish metadata
minimum standards (what about GPD minimum standards?) - job for working group
- How much can the database store? (In the wish list size is not an issue!)
- Pictures of site
- Pictures of cores
- Pdfs of papers particularly older ones (harder to find and easier legally?) and maybe metadata (even count sheets?)
- Option to produce diagram in exactly the form (sum, age model, organisation) used in the original publication
- Output age-depth model as plot, plus information on calibration curve used, reservoir corrections etc.
- Option to add text description about choices made in analysis (e.g. purpose of study)
- What about non-diagrammed data, e.g. vast volumes generated by archaeological palynologists as screenings, on-site contexts etc.
Keeping reasonable control with the contributor
- Getting data in needs to be EASY - e.g. upload to web option, easy format, choice of formats?
- Use of restricted option - with some (automatic?) reminders about whether they want to upload more
data and/or change the restriction - to generate a discussion
- Need to PUBLICISE restricted option and agreement:
- Display in multiple European languages (especially for the .sparse areas.)
- Put messages into bulletins of national palynological societies
- Importance of a curatorial role (committee?) as well as a technical role
- Have to trust each other - and supervisors for student work - to control quality at the microscope level
the data INPUT is the database.s business:
- checking existing data at simple level by reviewing all diagrams - working group rather than just one
person, leading to some kind of group publication both on and off line (e.g. Huntley and Birks style maps,
NAPD style animations),
- author checking
- the quality of the science done with the data - peer review process
- responsibility of USER to screen data themselves and make judgements if appropriate. Would be helped by:
- ability to screen data easily e.g. select for what control steps have been taken, by count size etc.
- better metadata e.g. on stratigraphy
Activity Summary ▪
Final Programme ▪
Scientific Content ▪
Use of the Database ▪
Administrative Structure ▪