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Re: plant DB - prose, searches

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  • Richard Morris
    ... Too right. My spin on the subject, is that I d like to gather as much of this living knowledge as possible and aid the communication of this knowledge.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2001
      > From: John Schinnerer <eco_living@...>
      > This is good news about the AAAS DB, at least where non-living (e.g.
      > recorded in some static form) information is concerned. For an in-use
      > legal model of "open" documentation, see:
      > http://opencontent.org/
      > And...I'll go on with related stuff from several rich recent posts...
      > Given the fragility of the technology pyramid we reside at the top of
      > and the huge differences between "living" knowledge and "dead"
      > information, I often think that much of the effort and infrastructure
      > that goes into high-tech projects such as we're proposing (and PFAF,
      > AAAS, etc. are undertaking) would be better used to revitalize living
      > knowledge.

      Too right. My spin on the subject, is that I'd like to gather as much
      of this living knowledge as possible and aid the communication of this
      knowledge. What I'd like to do is create a forum where people can
      exchange this knowledge. A collaborative plant database could do this
      very well. One very important thing is making it collaborative, trying
      to get through the not-invented-here pheromone. Providing appropriate
      credit for info added to a database is very important. But a sense of
      ownership is also vital to make the project work.

      The AAAS project does have a very specific aim which is to stop people
      locking up knowledge/information. We've seen lots of problems with
      patenting of plants which can go prevent people even using their
      living knowledge.

      > > The problem with writing things as prose is that they are difficult
      > > to search on.
      > However, if the DB is full-text searchable, it can be done. Main
      > trouble is as with text-based web searches (which are often a full-text
      > search on the search engine's entire indexed web space) - lots of
      > spurious results that aren't relevant and have to be manually culled.
      > Advanced search features (booleans, etc.) help but can still be
      > frustrating and require more user expertise.

      Free text searches leave a lot to be desired. The words used to describe
      something might not match the words used to search for something. There
      can be a lot of irrelevant information returned by many of the search
      engines. Context is important, acid in terms of soil might not be what
      your looking for if you are looking for acidic berries. One of the
      weakest parts of the pfaf db is the range info, which is a text fields.

      Latin Name Common Name Range
      Abelmoschus esculentus Okra The original habitat is obscure.;
      Abelmoschus manihot Aibika E. Asia - Southeastern Asia to
      Northern Australia.;
      Abelmoschus moschatus Musk mallow S.E. Asia.;
      Abies alba Silver fir C. and S. Europe;
      Abies amabilis Red fir Northwestern N. America - Alaska
      to Oregon.;
      Abies balsamea Balsam fir Northeastern N. America -
      Newfoundland to Virginia, west
      to Alberta,
      Michegan and Ohio.;

      Looking for plants which grow in a specific state or country from this
      information is practically imposible.

      > I am in process of redoing the static resource links on my site as a
      > searchable object DB (using Zope's ZCatalog objects and custom
      > classes), including canned queries and keyword and full-text searches.
      > This should give some indication of how object based DBs handle search
      > issues.


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