Proceedings of TDWG : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Cookbooks and Curriculum
expand article infoMary Kennedy, Andrew Sherin§
‡ OBIS Canada, Dartmouth, Canada
§ COINAtlantic Secretariat, Halifax, Canada
Open Access


Since 2014, the Coastal and Ocean Information Network Atlantic (COINAtlantic) in collaboration with the Canadian node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and other academic, government and non-governmental organizations in Atlantic Canada have been rescuing species occurrence data in primary and grey literature and processing it to standards for publication through OBIS. The project has been funded in part by the Atlantic Ecosystem Initiative of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The project was awarded Honourable Mention in the 2016 International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences by Elsevier and the Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance.

COINAtlantic and OBIS share common goals of promoting and facilitating free and open access to data required for coastal and ocean management. The sharing of data and integration of datasets requires adoption of standards and use of common vocabularies. Manuals, guidelines, and cookbooks can facilitate the process.

One of the deliverables of the data rescue project was the release of the first version of “Guidelines for marine species occurrence data rescue – The OBIS Canada Cookbook” in April 2017. This document includes ten recipes ranging from initial identification of sources of data to final project wrap up and lessons learned.

A second deliverable was the development of a curriculum for training sessions of custodians of marine species occurrence data. Training is required at all levels in our community. Not only should data be accessible for reuse but also training information and lecture material. This course curriculum, based on the OBIS Canada Cookbook, reused some content already on-line and was tested in a workshop at the 2017 conference of the Atlantic Canada Coastal and Estuarine Research Society. (see Fig. 1).

Figure 1.

Course Instructor Mary Kennedy works with Matthew Penney, student at Cape Breton University at the workshop held with the Atlantic Canada Coastal and Estuarine Research Society conference held in Montreal in May 2017.

Our curriculum, as presently designed, is an intensive single day, hands on course with a focus on graduate students and early career researchers. The course has nine (9) modules which address the following topics: why we share research data including a general description of and the need for data policies and data management plans and data repositories; an introduction to OBIS and the standards used by OBIS; how to map data sets to Darwin Core terms and how to clean and reformat the data; how to standardize species lists; how to georeference observations and use of gazetteers to standardize location place names; and how to compose standardized discovery metadata. The last module is devoted to the processing of participants’ data sets under the guidance of the instructor.

Future activities will include promotion of the use of the cookbook and revision of the recipes according to users’ feedback. The curriculum will be tested again with a new set of participants on an opportunistic basis and modified according to participants’ comments. A staged and edited video of the course is under consideration - the objective is to provide on-line training material. These products will augment the growing number of lesson plans and lecture material made accessible by the OBIS/GBIF community. The resources need to be promoted and reuse encouraged.


guideline, course

Presenting author

Mary Kennedy

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