Keeping focus on the projects objectives, in liaison with the Steering Committee (see chapter 9.1 Project Management). Monitoring the progress and logistics of the workpackages. Keeping track of all financial payments. Promoting synergy between the activities of the three principal contractors and their respective workpackages.
- Employment and task assignment of project staff.
- Maintenance of a strict decision making structure.
- Monitoring of progress in the workpackages by a frequent internal reporting system.
- Establishment of advisory teams for each cluster, drawn from the members, depending on requested expertise.
- Regularly meetings for the integral project (Steering Committee), and for the cluster advisory teams.
- Written reports, and a newsletter on the WWW.
- Supervision of correct operations of the help desk for the participating members.
The execution of the project requires a strict focus on achieving results within the projects lifetime and budget. As a consequence, the principle contractors will define a set of rules - such as standards, protocols, scope, limits - to keep the project manageable.
Within this workpackage, the principles for standards, protocols, scope, and limits of the project will be established . The standards etc themselves are part of other workpackages. Before detailing these, it is essential to have a common approach that will support a comparable and controlled input of data. This all is the basis for the specification and organization of data flows, with the identification of responsible persons for these protocols.
The work starts with reparatory meetings of the advisory teams, leading to proposals from each principle contractor, responsible for its work field. Meetings of the Steering Committee, to assess the proposals, leading to decisions of the coordinator.
The results of the Fauna Europaea project will serve the European Community at a wide level. A number of project members represent the end-users of the project. The end-user forum defines its recommendations and assist in the implementation of the project.
- The end-user forum will organize a number of meetings to discuss priority setting and the final data presentation, including linkages to other databases.
- Inventory of the desirable attributes, as additional information on conservation or legal status, to the species checklist. Subsequent selection of those attributes to be included in the data fields (input for workpackage 13, 14 and 15). The members in the end-user forum will organize opportunities for exchange of views with a variety of (potential) users of fauna europaea. These users originate from the sectors of science, environment, agriculture, health, biotechnology, nature conservation, publishing.
- Implementation by some members of parts of the WWW-site and external linkages.
- Analysing possible applications of the project results, as an input for workpackage 12 and 16.
- Description of the taxonomic scope (which taxa), detail (primary data fields, synonyms, etc.), and attributes (end notes); input from workpackage.
- Tuning to other European master species databases.
- Definition/construction of that classification/system above the genus level, that will support search and retrieval.
The taxonomic framework and hierarchy will define the database structure and search & retrieval procedures. In animal systematics this is a very complex matter, as hierarchies are not always solved and generally agreed upon. As the taxonomic framework and hierarchies are of a conceptual nature, the best approach is to choose for stable systems that are practical for common use.
Meetings of the Steering Committee, partly jointly with the members Species 2000 and European Register of Marine Species project, will evaluate preparatory reports by the project staff, leading to decisions about the format for the data input from member experts (group coordinators),
Classifications / systems adopted above family level rank are decided upon in these meetings of by member experts (group coordinators, sometimes in advisory groups). Arrangements within any given family are decided on in consultation between group coordinators and individual contributing experts.
Decisions on the geographic coverage (outer limits), the geographic detail (political territories, grids), and of its presentation (coding).
Assessment of existing systems; interaction with Plant Euro+Med project and with EEA-topic centre biodiversity. Choice of system, in consultation with workpackage 6. Setting criteria for species selection at the European geographic borders. The objective is to follow more or less identifiable biogeographic zones.
The initial approach is that the sea shore is one of the geographical limits, including all European islands (in the Atlantic Ocean also Canary islands and Madeira; in the Mediteranean up to Cyprus). To the East, the intended limit is the Ural, thus restricted to biogeographic minimal Europe. Turkey, except European Turkey, is not a part of the project.
The information about the geographical distribution of species (optional) will at least be on country level (political units), but only if available and in the correct format.
Organising the network of group coordinators / taxonomic experts (as represented by various members), its work logistics, and the data flows.
Establishment of a hierarchy of experts, from scientists in a relatively small group, through coordinators for a specific taxonomic group (such as a family or order), up to coordinators for an assembly of taxonomic groups. This approach will on one hand promote the best choice of experts, and at the other hand a decision-making structure with respect to the selection of data and their formats. The work will be organized and managed by establishing a hierarchy of experts and group coordinators (for taxonomic groups on various levels). This implies a study of the best way to combine at one the theoretical optimal approach, and at the other hand the involvement of available expertise. Establishing the whole framework and the logistics of taxonomic coordination requires a caraful approach to ensure the support of the wide European taxonomic community that will contribute with numerous data. As expertise and data from various data will overlap, and sometimes be in mutual conflict, the taxonomic coordination will also develop mechanisms to identify these and to establish mechanisms to harmonize the data input.
Support for data transfer from data sources of unrelated formats. Application of standard export / import routines to transfer the distributed datasets into a common format.
In case of not yet databased information, the application of a user friendly software data entry module that will act as standard transfer unit and also can assist the projects members to import their data from existing databases, independent from its original format (printed, digital in various systems).
- Making an inventory of existing databases and their structures (data models) of project members.
- Designing a common data exchange format to facilitate transfer of data to a central database.
- Application of a user friendly software data entry module that will act as standard transfer unit and assist the projects members to import their data from existing databases, independent from its original format (printed, digital in various systems). This module will also be used for generating new databases (in standard format) by members that do not own databases.
The data flows from member-experts will results in datasets of different size, detail and quality. The sets will be integrated (assisted by workpackages 7 and 9) in larger databases, ready for validation (workpackage 10), and subsequent storage (workpackage 11)
Group coordinators (members) contact the taxonomic experts and national coordinators, who can provide partial datasets. Instructions from workpackages 4, 5 and 7 assisted by the help desk (workpackage 9), support the implementation of required data flows. Also identification of experts to do initial revisions in relation to the collation of datasets from different sources.
The lead contractor for this workpackage keeps contact with all experts according to the established logistic mechanisms. Precise instructions should promote data capture according to defined formats. In reality, it is expected that this will not be that simple, as the delivered datasets will be in many different formats, both with respect to data structure (and inclusiveness), and to data presentation (different database systems, various printed, sometimes even hand written, lists). In interaction with the experts, via the group coordinators the data flows will be optimized. In many times the datasets have to be digitized or transferred in other database systems, afterwards to be checked again by experts. Combined datasets to be checked for internal consistency. Much of spped and quality of work will depend on well established standards and protocols (workpackage 2), taxonomic framework and hierarchy (workpackage 4), coordinating mechanisms (workpackage 6), and tools for data transfer.
- Providing on-line assistance to the members (experts) with regard to data collation
- Assist members with using the data entry module (instructions)
- Provinding technical assistance in keeping the main databases on-line
The tools for data transfer (workpackage 7) are essential for a smooth progress of the project. It is expected that the large number of contributing experts will face frequent problems with respect to managing and processing their data according to the requested format. The work plan is as follows.
Setting up structure for telephone, and e-mail service to assist member-experts with any emerging problem in relation to their work to build their specialist dataset or to transfer it. Advice with respect to taxonomic choices or priority setting.
The help desk will be established to provide a service for all possible expected problems. It will be active during the whole period of data collation. Start up in month 3, but in operation from month 6. In principle all services will be on-line or via telephone or fax. The operations of the help desk will be assessed with respect to its capability to solve any disturbance in the process of data collation.
Reviews of delivered data sets from workpackage 8. Assessment according to defined standards, protocols, scope, and to taxonomic framework. Assessment of data presentation (work package 15). Identification of gaps in information and expertise as input for workpackage 12.
Development of measures (indexes) of the data quality. Records to be assessed as a whole or through each field. Levels are: data entry (standards), data semantics, data accuracy, data reliability, and inclusiveness of data. Finally identification of gaps in data, knowledge and expertise. The lead contractor of this workpackage will ask various network members to assist in the work. After development of data quality indicators, the work involves the verification of all incoming data sets from contractor ZMUC. Any comments will result in a feed back to ZMUC, such as to assess whether changes / improvements are possible. Quality problems of a general nature will be put forward to the Steering Committee with the objective to find a solution within the scope of the project. The work results in the assignment of meta data to data sets that will express the state of validation.
- Building a central database (contents) according to the taxonomic frame work and hierarchy (workpackage 4) to accommodate incoming data sets.
- Experience in this workpackage will give input to the workpackage 9 (help desk).
- Links from the central database to the the Fauna Europaea WWW site (workpackage 14) which will allow users to view and search in the database.
- Design of data model for the Fauna Europea central database. The data model has
to reflect at one hand the results of work packages 2, 4 and 5 (taking into
consideration the recommendations of the international Taxonomic Data Working
Group) and at the other hand the latest database software developments.
- Building the Fauna Europea central database with links for data transfer, as this
database will be central base for feeding new data and for extracting selections of
data sets. As such, the work involves the development of a flexible, easy to adapt
(taxonomic) structure, storage of various types of data (also potential mutimedia
data, and derived data as sequences), options for linkages to supporting databases.
- Create linkage between the Fauna Europea central database and the Fauna Europea WWW site (workpackage 14)
- Service management includes the development of a transparant structure, that will
guarantee that in future the database can be updated easily and can be adopted to
new hardware and software requirements. A minimal task is to document the
datastructure of the central database. The datastructure will have to meet ISO
standards, which at least implies careful documentation.
In the course of the project, it will become apparent that not all data can be captured for different reasons:
- no experts are available,
- capturing the data will require fundamental taxonomic revisions that are not included in
the project objectives,
- the quality of the data is low or insufficient, and presently cannot be enhanced,
- the data cannot be obtained within the projects time frame, budget of required format
While assessing the inclusiveness and quality of the delivered data (workpackage 10), the gaps in data and in knowledge will be identified. The gaps will be listed with respect to data availability, data reliability, lacking scientific knowledge, and missing scientific expertise in Europe. The network members will assist in identifying the gaps.
In conjunction with workpackage 10 (verification and quality control), all emerging problems with respect to inclusiveness and quality of the data will be listed. If, after feed-back to ZMUC and consideration in the Steering Committee, it has been concluded that no further improvement is possible because of the current state of scientific knowledge, the problems will be analysed. Analysis should result in the identification of importance of gaps and priority setting and recommendations for European research and staffing policies in animal systematics.
Providing interoperability with the other related European taxonomic services and registers.
Creating dynamic links from the Fauna Europaea central database via its webbrowser interface to other related taxonomic dataservices. Various user groups will ask for advanced mechanisms to enter the database or to extract (partial) datasets. The input from the End-user forum (workpackage 3) will be jointly assessed by the principle contractors, such as to specify the development work by UVA.
Producing webpages to present Fauna Europea in the Internet. Linking the webpages to the underlying central Fauna Europea database (package 11). Providing browse and functional search functions via Internet in the Fauna Europea database
- Linking webpages to Fauna Europea database. The central database is the
container for all data, but not always completely accessible. The WWW register
will not necessarily give access to all data, as they can be partially under (re)validation or (re)construction. An operator interface between the central Fauna Europaea database and the WWW-service will allow to provide a reliable information service from the container database. The work involves designing and developing of the linking interface, with its control mechanism of selective linkages.
- Creating browse and functional search functions via Internet in the Fauna Europea database. Focus will be on the development of a (performance powerful) taxonomy browser that allows for a fast and user-friendly access to the complex taxonomic data and hierarchies.
Design and development of the Web-interfaces that will display the data in the WWW-site (workpackage 14), taking into account the non-stable nature of the data and the requirements of end-users (workpackage 2).
Study of the data variability and of potential use of the Fauna Europaea databases in consultation with the end-user members. Prioritising the results as the basis for requirements. Users will access the WWW service via the Fauna Europaea interface. UVA will design solutions for alternative ways of data presentation and for user-friendly methods to generate these.
A special feature is the development of interfaces (templates) in different European languages.
Testing on various user groups.
Make the Fauna Europea register available to users.
Make arrangement for copyright agreements with owners of the data (members). Market the Fauna Europea register by offering the service to the user groups. Sell the cd-rom with the Fauna Europea database for stand-alone use
- Study and implementation of mechanism to allow the contributing experts to keep control on the quality and updating of the data, for which a Society for the management of biodiversity data is considered.
- Preparation of contracts to guarantee continuity of Fauna Europaea after this projects period.
- Liaise with users concerning terms for using the on-line Fauna Europea register. Liaise with scientific publishers for marketing the Fauna Europea cd-rom.