I am a zoologist by training, but since 1990 I have been working full-time in biodiversity informatics – the application of information technologies to biodiversity science. Academy scientists generate enormous amounts of information as they collect, describe, document, and compare organisms. That information comes in a variety of forms, including text, photographs, DNA sequences, taxonomic names, classifications, distributions maps, and ultimately publications. Our goals in biodiversity informatics are to ensure that information is captured effectively when it is created, and flows efficiently through analysis, into appropriate outputs.
The two most important themes in my work are designing data management systems that support information integration across workgroups and data types within organizations, and developing standards and architectures that support information integration across organizations. I have been an active participant in two international organizations dedicated to biodiversity informatics, the Taxonomic Databases Working Group (TDWG) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).