PositionNameAffiliation (Country)Background & Vision
TreasurerWilliam UlateMissouri Botanical Garden (USA)Statement
Chair, Technical Architecture GroupMatts DjosSLU / Swedish Species Information System (Sweden)Statement
Chair, Technical Architecture GroupPaul MorrisMuseum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (USA)Statement
Chair, Infrastructure SubcommitteeTim RobertsonGBIF (Denmark)Statement
Chair, Time and Place SubcommitteePatricia MergenRoyal Museum for Central Africa and Botanic Garden Meise (Belgium)Statement
Representative from EuropeWouter AddinkNaturalis (Netherlands)Statement
Representative from Latin AmericaBruno de Carvalho AlbertiniUniversity of São Paulo (Brazil)Statement
Representative from OceaniaSimon ChecksfieldCSIRO (Australia)Statement

Consecutive rows in bold italics are competing for a single office.  Other rows represent single nominations for a role, hence the nominee will succeed to the office in 2018.

William Ulate - Treasurer

I am Costa Rican, living in USA, father of one.  From a Computer Science and Informatics background, I was a software developer for 7 years, before getting into Biodiversity Informatics, first as an analyst/programmer, then DBA and finally as Coordinator of the Informatics Development Unit of INBio.ac.cr in Costa Rica. After 11 years working with specimens, species, ecosystems, collections, digitization, conservation, education, tourism, and project management, in 2007, I moved to The Nature Conservancy (TNC.org) to work as Data Node Manager with GIS and geographic information layers on Protected Areas, Threats and Biodiversity for Latin America to determine Conservation Priorities.  In 2011, I relocated to Saint Louis, to work at the Center for Biodiversity Informatics in the IT Department of the Missouri Botanical Garden, as Global Coordinator for BHL (biodiversitylibrary.org) for 3 years, then as Technical Director for BHL US/UK node for 2 years and now I am the Data Administrator for the WorldFloraOnline.org project.  While at INBio, I was part of the Executive Committee of the Employee Association, also involved in GBIF.org as Science Committee Chair and Node Manager and later in TDWG.org I started as an ex officio member and Treasurer for the last 3 years.  

During this time, TDWG has consolidated the Coordinator position, formed a well-defined Conference procedure and formalized its Standards definition process, thanks to a shared Institutional memory and an up-to-date documentation of its activities, now in Github as part of a revamped website.  

As a Treasurer, I envision my role supporting an active standards organization that will require a strong investment and follow up in our different activities, provisioning the work of the new Functional Subcommittees as part of the implementation of the latest changes in our Constitution and assisting with the investment of the established CSF Travel Fund for IG and TG and the recent EC Meeting Attendance Fund.  Additionally, as Treasurer I’ll be helping the Editor-in-Chief monitoring the advancement of the business model of the BISS Journal to guarantee the achievement of the goals established in terms of publications.

Relevant for my current work are the topics of DwC, Data Aggregation, Data Quality, Vocabularies and Text Mining. My interest to advance Biodiversity Informatics keeps me around topics like Semantic Search, Ontologies, Annotations, Services and Tools.  As personal conviction, I’ll be always looking to promote the participation and involvement of Latin American countries and low-income economies and the promotion of multi-language approaches.

Matts Djos - Chair, Technical Architecture Group

Matts works as the IT Architect at the Swedish Species Information Centre (ArtDatabanken) where he is responsible for designing the technical solutions and services. He has a strong business and IT background involving software architecture, hardware, network and IT solutions. Matts is responsible for ensuring that the underlying IT architecture delivers the capabilities that address current and future business needs for all the bioinfrastructure systems at the Swedish Species Information Centre.

Additional info:

The Swedish Species Information Centre (ArtDatabanken) at SLU has a unique governmental mandate to organise, coordinate and present all aspects of information and data about biodiversity in Sweden. The centre has some 90 species and habitat experts, ITC developers (c. 20 people) and communication staff, etc. ArtDatabanken is responsible for the Swedish taxonomic backbone Dyntaxa, the Swedish species observation system Artportalen (with > 60 M observations), an information and facts database Artfakta, the Swedish Red List, and the Swedish Taxonomy Initiative (STI). The latter has a goal to find and describe every species existing in Sweden. Since its start in 2002, more than 3,000 species new to Sweden, out of which >1,000 are new to science, have been found. The development of the national management system of natural history museum collections (DINA) has largely been funded by STI (and to an extent by SLW), as has the Swedish Malaise Trap Project. ArtDatabanken also chairs the Swedish Barcode of Life (SWEBOL).

ArtDatabanken has lead the development of the Swedish LifeWatch (SLW) since 2010. The core of SLW consists of a number of interoperable data and analysis services, which can be accessed individually and/or combined freely by scientists into custom-made pipelines supporting innovative research. The same services are used to feed user interfaces such as the Analysis Portal and the Biotelemetry portal. In addition, these services feed biodiversity data into the gateways of specific national networks (such as governmental GIS handling systems and the Swedish geodata portal) as well as Nordic and international infrastructures including GBIF. The Analysis Portal, for example, provides an extensive range of raw data (currently 71 million observations of >35,000 species harvested incrementally from 15 primary databases) as well as processed data and map layers which are frequently used for integrated environmental analyses and scenario modelling. All existing and future SLW services consist of well-documented open-source code and can be freely reused or integrated in existing or upcoming international infrastructures.

Consequently, ArtDatabanken provides a coherent well of biodiversity data and biodiversity informatics and supporting tools. 

As the IT architect at the Swedish Species Information Center I am responsible for our technical platform and the output from our 20+ developers. We maintain and develop close to 20 applications, a large set of APIs and more than 10 databases with biodiversity data. We’re currently involved in a significant modernization of our technical platform.

I have a master's degree in Information Technology and am a certified IT architect. I have worked within a wide spectrum of business areas as architect and developer during the last 15 years. In the past three years I have been working with biodiversity associated systems. My focus is strategic planning, coordination, and guidelines and standards. I am involved with Swedish government project “Digital First” as well as the ALA cooperation together with Swedish Museum of Natural History.

Vision:

Being new to the TDWG community I aim to contribute with my experience and knowledge developed during my periods in diverse businesses and more recently at ArtDatabanken. I intend to bring new ideas and help identify solutions to the challenges faced by TAG. We have several ongoing projects involving DwC and I am a strong advocate of the current standards and agreements. Nonetheless, there remains a great deal of work to improve interoperability between biodiversity systems and organisations worldwide. With my expertise within development, architecture and biodiversity together with the support of my organisation I am confident that I can contribute with innovative ideas, inspiration, efficiency and structure to the TDWG community.

Paul Morris - Chair, Technical Architecture Group

Background:

I’ve been attending TDWG meetings regularly since 1999.  I’m the founding convener of the Annotations Interest Group.  I am an active participant in TDWG activities including contributions to the Darwin Core RDF guide and active work in the Biodiversity Data Quality Interest Group task groups.   I hold a Ph.D. in Invertebrate Paleontology, and have been active in what has become biodiversity informatics since about 1986.  I’ve been the Biodiversity Informatics Manager, Museum of Comparative Zoology since 2006 and before that, Biodiversity Informatics Manager at the Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia from 1998 to 2006.   Expressing a deep concern with the quality of biodiversity data, I’ve served as project manager and software engineer on the FilteredPush and Kurator projects.   I’ve worked with a wide range of technologies as a contributor to projects including: FilteredPush, Kurator, Kepler, Symbiota, DINA, MCZbase, Arctos, Specify, DataShot, Druid, and the Indo-Pacific Mollusk Project (my github identity is chicoreus). I’ve served on the Flora of North America IT committee 2011-present, and have also been on advisory committees for EOL, the ETC project, and the Provasoli‑Guillard National Center for Culture of Marine Phytoplankton.  I authored a data model for invertebrate paleontological collections information published in Paleontological Society Special Publication 10, and was involved in the development of the OBIS and PaleoPortal extensions to the DarwinCore xml schema.  In an entirely different standards domain, am the clerk of the Massachusetts SAR Dog Federation and help develop search and rescue canine certification standards in Massachusetts.

Vision:

The role of the TAG is obscure to many TDWG members.  I aim to make it less so.  I would like to see the TAG actively engaging with the conveners of Interest Groups and Task Groups in order to promote interoperability of proposed and developing standards, build understanding among the membership of how TDWG standards interoperate and are documented, maintain a current roadmap of the existing and developing standards in the Task Groups, identify gaps in the TDWG technical landscape, and to serve as a conduit for bringing technical, documentation, and training needs from the task groups to the Executive.

TDWG is an organization that operates by consensus. I have particular opinions about technologies, but seek to develop consensus by engaging those with contrary opinions on technologies (and indeed what constitutes technology).  One technical and social issue that emerges for TDWG with the relegation of the LSID Applicability Statement to a status of Retired Standard is the importance of guarantees of persistence for identifiers. A question that the TAG will need to weigh in on is to what extent does TDWG lean towards the data science community and the use of cross-community infrastructures (DOIs, handles) with strong guarantees of long term persistence for resolvable identifiers, or towards the semantic web community with weaker guarantees and cool URIs. Much of the progress of standards development and interest group activity in TDWG results from people working within TDWG to further the needs of grant funded projects that they are working on. As a driver of activity, this works well within Interest and Task Groups, but less well within the wider reaching TAG, as with most software engineering, the real challenges are social.

Tim Robertson - Infrastructure Subcommittee

Tim Robertson is the Head of Informatics at the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). He served as the chair of the TDWG infrastructure subcommittee in its first year and is motivated to continue to do so. The mission of the Infrastructure Subcommittee is to maintain the software tools required to support the operation of TDWG. Its main short-term goal is the implementation of the TDWG website roadmap (http://www.tdwg.org/fileadmin/tdwg/TDWG_Website_Roadmap.pdf), which was adopted by the Executive committee in 2017 and administered to the contractor Peter Desmet by GBIF.

Patricia Mergen - Time and Place Subcommittee

Patricia Mergen acts as liaison officer for the Royal Museum for Central Africa and Botanic Garden Meise. In her past and current duties, she has been involved in numerous conference and events organizations, including TDWG since 2002. She has a good understanding of the expectations and needs of TDWG in terms of annual events and also connections to other networks with which TDWG events could be organized jointly or connect to. She has a large international network so that hosting bids and partners can be contacted and followed up, to have the needed audience and local stakeholders involved. She is member of several MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) networks and participates regularly to their activities to promote TDWG. She is also willing to participate to the other activities of the executive board and TDWG WG and IG additionally to the duties of the Time and Place Sub-Committee.

Wouter Addink - Representative from Europe

CV

Participating in TDWG for about 15 years, in several interest groups and task groups, e.g. in development of ABCD 2, Audubon Core, as reviewer and convenor of NCD interest group and assisted with development of the current TDWG standards ratification process.

International projects developer and manager of software development at Naturalis Biodiversity Center with a background in plant systematics and agricultural biology.

Employed at Naturalis Biodiversity Center since 2013 and before (1999-2013) at ETI BioInformatics. Since 2010 also IT systems manager for Species 2000/Catalogue of Life. Made Naturalis an institutional member of TDWG.

Participated in several European biodiversity data related projects, e.g. Fauna Europea, ENBI, MarBEF, EuroCat, KeyToNature, 4D4Life, i4Life and OpenUp!

Also active in the GBIF community as node manager for Naturalis and Catalogue of Life, organised several GBIF mentoring projects and a GBIF species checklist hackathon and currently 2nd vice chair in the GBIF Nodes Committee.

Vision

TDWG has many active participants in Europe that played a major role in development of the current TDWG standards and interest groups.

As European representative in TDWG I would like to further promote:

  1. The use of TDWG standards in Europe, 
  2. Participation from existing and new members and stakeholders in Europe 
  3. Alignment of biodiversity informatics standards development in Europe with development in other parts of the world.

I see TDWG not only as an organization for development of standards, but also as community that shares knowledge and ideas and creates both professional and personal relations through the annual conferences. 

In the next years I would like to see TDWG have active working sessions during the annual meetings, more participation from students, and improved linkages between interest groups. 

I think that TDWG standards development will evolve further with new collaboration tools like Github and stronger prioritization of guidance by use cases and implementation experience of users.

Bruno de Carvalho Albertini - Representative from Latin America

Bruno is a young professor with a hardware computing formation (MSc and PhD in computer architecture), but researching computer subjects applied to biodiversity since he joined University of São Paulo, Brazil (2014). He is a member of a group (biocomp.org) specialized into this application, and currently the Latin America representative on TDWG. His interests are data quality, citizen science, and data standards. His decision to point his academic career towards biodiversity, despite the unrelated formation, was taken because he believe that humankind can coexist with our planet peacefully if enough knowledge could be gathered, organized, and spread. His efforts have been on biodiversity assessment (HW, Wireless Sensor Networks, Convolutional Neural Networks, Embedded Systems, etc.) and data quality, although he ventured himself also on geospatial analysis, always applied to biodiversity. On TDWG, he is applying to Latin America representative position in order to support TDWG activities at this region.

Simon Checksfield - Representative from Oceania

Following a 20 year career in mainstream enterprise IT, focused around big data systems, Simon transitioned into managing the digitisation and data program for the National Research Collections Australia (https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/Collections), which is part of CSIRO.  In this role Simon has continuous engagement with the relevant data standards (for example Darwin Core), how they are implemented, how they can be used as a basis for a new data model for a system that manages a range of different collection types.  Simon also sits on many boards and committee’s with in Australia including the Faunal Collections Informatics Group (FCIG - chafc.org.au/fcig/) , Herbarium Information Systems Committee (HISCOM - http://hiscom.rbg.vic.gov.au/wiki/Main_Page) and GLAM Peak (http://www.digitalcollections.org.au/) which gives him a broad range of influence in the community. 

Simon sees the intrinsic value TDWG plays in ensuring that the standards, processes and quality of the information the world works with.  While for Simon, the future of TDWG is assured in these spaces, there is also key area’s it can involve (continue to involve) itself in regarding leadership and direction to the community on Nagoya (data exchange and homogenised standards).  Simon also firmly believes the impact TDWG can have in the Asia Pacific region could be immense and would like to see efforts in this area maintained and improved.

  Last Modified: 18 October 2017