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An open souce plant database

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  • Richard Morris
    Hi folks, Theres been some interesting discussion on the pcplantdb (permaculture plant database) mailing list reciently. The aim of the project is to try and
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 1, 2003
      Hi folks,
      Theres been some interesting discussion on the
      pcplantdb (permaculture plant database) mailing list reciently.
      The aim of the project is to try and create a more colabrative
      database which allow other peoples input and possibly with
      a broader scope that the pfaf one. Introducing info on plant guilds
      seem to be an important aspect of the project.

      Anyway some good questions were posted:

      1. What would be want the ultimate plant/guild database to be able to
      acheive? brainstorm *goals*, forget tech format for now. get specific
      (i.e. I want to be able to insert x,y,z criteria and design a medicinal
      guild for my local region...) Also specify fee (free or paid), format
      (web or cd rom)-- how this tool is accessed.

      2. What characteristics of current plant/guild databases can serve as a
      model- features we admire, and would we want to include in a 'next level'
      project?

      3. What are current plant/guild databases lacking, that we would aspire
      to include in a 'next level' project?

      4. only AFTER answering the first 3, brainstorm tech formats/platforms
      that could acheive this end and how.

      I'd also like to add a couple of my own:

      5. Format: web based or cd-rom?

      6. Economics / licencing: should it be free as in beer, free as in
      speach, should it be done just by volunatary effort or via funding
      for developers or by some sort of fee from the users?

      If anyone out there has views on these subjects then it would be great
      if you could respond to the pcplantdb mailing list:


      To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
      http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/pcplantdb
      or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
      pcplantdb-request@...

      Send pcplantdb mailing list submissions to
      pcplantdb@...

      Rich
      --
      Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
      Web: http://www.pfaf.org/ same as http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/
      Post: 1 Lerryn View, Lerryn, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0QJ
      Tel: 01208 872 963 / 0845 458 4719
      Email: webmaster@...
      PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf
    • Judy Phillips
      Hello Richard I am not a member of the pcplantdb mailing list (though perhaps I would like to be?) but thought I would post a few suggestions here, if you
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 2, 2003
        Hello Richard
        I am not a member of the pcplantdb mailing list (though perhaps I would like
        to be?) but thought I would post a few suggestions here, if you don't mind,
        for you to pass along
        There is an excellent piece of open source software called the Greenstone
        Digital Library available for free at
        http://www.greenstone.org/cgi-bin/library?a=p&p=home. It is quite easy to
        use, attractively formatted, and materials can be assembled in html format
        for online viewing or placed onto CD for distribution.
        I have found this software very easy to use for it's flexibility. Libraries
        can include any type of file--images, spreadsheets, documents, web pages,
        even links to other sources online. An excellent search query feature allows
        the user to enter keywords and come up with a compilation of all relevant
        documents. There is are even multiple language interfaces! And since it is
        an open source project, the techies out there among you could even tweek the
        program to suit your specific needs.
        As for the accessibility/cost issue--that is always a quandary. Obviously it
        takes time and money to compile such a database and such efforts deserve
        support! But my inclination is that information should be free and available
        to all. My humble suggestion would be that the database be made available
        for free online viewing, with a (searchable) CD containing all the relevant
        literature made available for a fee. In keeping with the open source
        philospohy, it would be quite easy for users to add their own materals to
        the compilation to develop their personal "materia medica", regional dta,
        guild notations, what-have-you.
        Hope this is of some help to you. Thanks so much for all your hard work!
        Judy Phillips


        > Hi folks,
        > Theres been some interesting discussion on the
        > pcplantdb (permaculture plant database) mailing list reciently.
        > The aim of the project is to try and create a more colabrative
        > database which allow other peoples input and possibly with
        > a broader scope that the pfaf one. Introducing info on plant guilds
        > seem to be an important aspect of the project.
        >
        > Anyway some good questions were posted:
        >
        > 1. What would be want the ultimate plant/guild database to be able to
        > acheive? brainstorm *goals*, forget tech format for now. get specific
        > (i.e. I want to be able to insert x,y,z criteria and design a medicinal
        > guild for my local region...) Also specify fee (free or paid), format
        > (web or cd rom)-- how this tool is accessed.
        >
        > 2. What characteristics of current plant/guild databases can serve as a
        > model- features we admire, and would we want to include in a 'next level'
        > project?
        >
        > 3. What are current plant/guild databases lacking, that we would aspire
        > to include in a 'next level' project?
        >
        > 4. only AFTER answering the first 3, brainstorm tech formats/platforms
        > that could acheive this end and how.
        >
        > I'd also like to add a couple of my own:
        >
        > 5. Format: web based or cd-rom?
        >
        > 6. Economics / licencing: should it be free as in beer, free as in
        > speach, should it be done just by volunatary effort or via funding
        > for developers or by some sort of fee from the users?
        >
        > If anyone out there has views on these subjects then it would be great
        > if you could respond to the pcplantdb mailing list:
      • Richard Morris
        ... If you fancy joining heres the subscription info: Send pcplantdb mailing list submissions to pcplantdb@lists.ibiblio.org To subscribe or unsubscribe via
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 3, 2003
          Judy Phillips wrote:

          > Hello Richard
          > I am not a member of the pcplantdb mailing list (though perhaps I would like
          > to be?)

          If you fancy joining heres the subscription info:

          Send pcplantdb mailing list submissions to
          pcplantdb@...

          To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
          http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/pcplantdb
          or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
          pcplantdb-request@...

          You can reach the person managing the list at
          pcplantdb-owner@...

          but thought I would post a few suggestions here, if you don't mind,
          > for you to pass along

          Great, have passed on.

          > There is an excellent piece of open source software called the Greenstone
          > Digital Library available for free at
          > http://www.greenstone.org/cgi-bin/library?a=p&p=home. It is quite easy to
          > use, attractively formatted, and materials can be assembled in html format
          > for online viewing or placed onto CD for distribution.

          Yes it look a nice bit of software. There are a few other things we need
          1) colaborative input. We need a mechanism for allowing info to be added.
          2) more sosphticated searches. Our data come highly structured. Free
          text searches a great but some searches, say trees greater than 10m
          which are hard to do.

          I might have a look at the code to see if it can meet our (Pfaf's)
          need for a CR-ROM version.

          > I have found this software very easy to use for it's flexibility. Libraries
          > can include any type of file--images, spreadsheets, documents, web pages,
          > even links to other sources online. An excellent search query feature allows
          > the user to enter keywords and come up with a compilation of all relevant
          > documents. There is are even multiple language interfaces! And since it is
          > an open source project, the techies out there among you could even tweek the
          > program to suit your specific needs.

          I may well do this.

          > As for the accessibility/cost issue--that is always a quandary. Obviously it
          > takes time and money to compile such a database and such efforts deserve
          > support! But my inclination is that information should be free and available
          > to all. My humble suggestion would be that the database be made available
          > for free online viewing, with a (searchable) CD containing all the relevant
          > literature made available for a fee. In keeping with the open source
          > philospohy, it would be quite easy for users to add their own materals to
          > the compilation to develop their personal "materia medica", regional dta,
          > guild notations, what-have-you.

          Not that far off how I envisage things.

          > Hope this is of some help to you. Thanks so much for all your hard work!

          Yes indeed.

          Rich

          --
          Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
          Web: http://www.pfaf.org/ same as http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/
          Post: 1 Lerryn View, Lerryn, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0QJ
          Tel: 01208 872 963 / 0845 458 4719
          Email: webmaster@...
          PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf
        • Judy Phillips
          Hi Richard and thanks for the subscription info. I will check into it. ... Greenstone handles this quite well in my experience--clients could use anonymous ftp
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 3, 2003
            Hi Richard and thanks for the subscription info. I will check into it.

            > Yes it look a nice bit of software. There are a few other things we need
            > 1) colaborative input. We need a mechanism for allowing info to be added.

            Greenstone handles this quite well in my experience--clients could use
            anonymous ftp to upload a specified folder on the site where data is to be
            stored.

            > 2) more sosphticated searches. Our data come highly structured. Free
            > text searches a great but some searches, say trees greater than 10m
            > which are hard to do.

            Yes, that is a challenge. Perhaps each file could have a header record of
            some sort with this sort of data coded in as keywords so that it would be
            searchable? Or a separate searchable file could be created containing the
            structured data you require, which then links out to individual documents in
            the library? I am not a database design expert (anymore)--just musing.

            Perhaps I should get me over to the pcplantdb list to continue this
            conversation, rather than boring pfaf members with my wonderings. I have a
            techie friend who has collected a virtual cadre of utility programs to
            develop efficient searchable databases for geneological research. Seems the
            requirements might be quite similar. It may be that she can make some useful
            suggestions. I am so grateful for the plant database info that pfaf makes
            available online--would like to make some small contribution!

            Green blessings
            Judy Phillips
          • Mazza Verdante
            Please keep talking about this in this forum ~ I m trying to find a suitable DB platform for my local seedbank and these wonderings are of great interest.
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 3, 2003
              Please keep talking about this in this forum ~ I'm trying to find a suitable DB platform for my local seedbank and these 'wonderings' are of great interest.


              Mazza Verdante (Australia)


              Judy Phillips wrote:
              Hi Richard and thanks for the subscription info. I will check into it.

              > Yes it look a nice bit of software. There are a few other things we need
              > 1) colaborative input. We need a mechanism for allowing info to be added.

              Greenstone handles this quite well in my experience--clients could use
              anonymous ftp to upload a specified folder on the site where data is to be
              stored.

              > 2) more sosphticated searches. Our data come highly structured. Free
              > text searches a great but some searches, say trees greater than 10m
              > which are hard to do.

              Yes, that is a challenge. Perhaps each file could have a header record of
              some sort with this sort of data coded in as keywords so that it would be
              searchable? Or a separate searchable file could be created containing the
              structured data you require, which then links out to individual documents in
              the library? I am not a database design expert (anymore)--just musing.

              Perhaps I should get me over to the pcplantdb list to continue this
              conversation, rather than boring pfaf members with my wonderings. I have a
              techie friend who has collected a virtual cadre of utility programs to
              develop efficient searchable databases for geneological research. Seems the
              requirements might be quite similar. It may be that she can make some useful
              suggestions. I am so grateful for the plant database info that pfaf makes
              available online--would like to make some small contribution!

              Green blessings
              Judy Phillips





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