Newsletter 1 - Concept for the Web Revision (20.2.2007)

Preliminary concept for the web revision of the Compositae tribe Cichorieae

By initiating the International Cichorieae Network and providing a web revision platform for its participants, we want to encourage taxonomic specialists to present their different groups on ONE cyber platform. This will also allow for a combination of different types of data and characters, compiled by different methodological specialists, i.e. micromorphology, anatomy, cytology, phytochemistry, phylogeny, chorology, typification, nomenclature, etc. Setting links to already existing databases are as welcome as the contribution of new data. It is also envisaged to produce an ontology of descriptive terms to optimize communication.

We consider the following elements to be most important for the user interface, which is the Open Access web site presenting the results to the taxonomic community as well as to the general public.

(1) Taxa list and synonymies. – This will comprise:
- names of accepted taxa, full bibliographical citations, type information;
- a full list of synonyms;
- links to images of protologues and type illustrations;
- data on infrageneric classifications;
- data on hybrids and cultivars.

(2) Descriptions. – This involves:
- choosing a detailed (macro)morphological taxon description as basis, developing a standard description scheme for characters (applicable to the Cichorieae) and the grammatical structure of the character descriptions;
- information on the variability of taxa;
- harmonization of terminology;
- developing an ontology of descriptive terms by building a defined and illustrated glossary integrating alternative terms.

(3) References.
- all data will be comprehensive and referenced; allowing for the generation of full bibliographies for individual taxa.

(4) Identification keys.
- Implementation of illustrated multi-access keys.

(5) Additional data.
- micromorphology, anatomy;
- palynology (links to databases);
- cytology (links to databases);
- phytochemistry;
- phylogeny (links to, e.g., Tree Base);
- links to DNA sequence data (EMBL/GenBank accessions);
- specimen specific DNA data;
- chorology with occurrence and status information (preferably by maps),
- ecology;
- use and conservation (at least IUCN status);
- etymology and indigenous names (Unicode);
- illustrations (habit, details of flower heads, flowers, achenes [REM], photograph of a characteristic herbarium specimen as minimum standard).

As regards the working platform and its the IT requirements of the project, the following topics are currently under discussion:
- taxa database structure;
- requirements for multi-access keys with easy navigation;
- incorporation of additional data preferably by co-operation with existing database provid¬ers;
- a community tool solution for distributed working and communication;
- responsibilities, peer reviewing and the way of crediting any kind of contribution to the web based revision;
- data distribution and synchronization of data development.