logo Calflora What is Calflora?
The Library Model
  • Calflora is a not-for-profit which has been around since the late 90's.

  • It was started by Ann Dennis while she worked for the Forest Service.

  • Calflora is intended to be a library, not a research institution:
    Calflora collects research data from others and presents it on the web.

  • Calflora would like to answer two questions:
     
    1. What plants grow wild in California?

    2. Where do they grow?

  • At first, Calflora attempted to answer the second question on the basis of large institutional datasets (Forest Service plant surveys, herbarium collections, etc.), and only on the county level.

  • According to the library model, each institution was responsible for maintaining its own data.

  • In 2003 Calflora started accepting online contributions of plant observation data from inviduals and small groups (CNPS chapters).

  • The library model continues to pertain: contributors are responsible for their own records.

  • Calflora's job is to maintain the database where those records live, to present them on the web, and to provide contributors with tools:
     
    1. to get records into the database;
    2. to manage them once they are there; and
    3. to get them out in a variety of formats.

  • The result is that Calflora ends up with a dynamic collection of wild plant distribution data, which is getting more thorough and more detailed over time.

  • Challenges:
     
    1. Scientific name changes.
    2. The contributor is no longer reachable.
    3. Data quality.

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