Birdstack: a good response by David Ringer

To: "Robert Inglis" <>, "Birding-Aus" <>, <>
Subject: Birdstack: a good response by David Ringer
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:55:10 +1100
 wrote on Tuesday, 22 January 2008
11:55 AM:

> Thank you for your very well presented response to some of
> the knee-jerk
> reactions to Duncan Fraser's considerate and thoughtful (as
> usual) advice as
> to the availability of Birdstack.

As one of the first to jump in, I'd like to point out that as someone
who works with computers I have survived many data disasters such as
yours and have become extremely wary of anything new and unproven.  I
have also spent much of my working life trying to integrate data, so I'm
equally unimpressed with systems that fragment it again.

If I was to try to intoduce such a system myself, I would expect to be
given the third degree by any potential users.  That's normal and good
but I hope noone was offended.

It appears that this system, which I still have not tried (not for any
reason other than laziness), could have the makings of a good database.
It seems to have some new things that others don't have, and be run by
people who have the ability to add more (something which many systems

It seems that the ability to forward information on to another database
is not yet ready, but that users concerns about backups should largely
be answered by the ability to download one's own data.

But this doesn't really solve the problem of fragmentation.  I can
forward my data on to Eremaea, etc, but then I need to use Eremaea to
get reports that include data from all the other Eremaea users.  Then I
lose access to all the new reporting features.  The problem of
fragmentation is only solved by importing *all* the data into whichever
system has the best reporting features.

The question of taxonomies is not a small one.  I've tried to use
databases using ones that I'm not used to, and spent more time sorting
out clashes than entering data.

> Along with the feeling that those personal records are of little real
> scientific value because I was simply noting what I had seen
> and where (no
> specific details of numbers, ages, sexes, plumages, breeding,
> geography, weather, time etc) I did not bother to investigate other
> data-bases to see
> if there was anything better than the one I had been using. Nowadays,
> I don't even record what birds I see as I am only really
> interested in taking
> photos and I can usually work out where they were taken when
> I review them
> later.

I don't record much more than species either unless I see something
special, and Eremaea, which I use, doesn't accept counts, etc anyway,
except in note form.  But it still helps others to at least know what
they're likely to see at a particular site.  I haven't got around to
contributing to the Atlas yet, but I would have thought that
species-only information is useful to them too.

Peter Shute

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU