Communication and Participant Training
From HAO Wiki
Participation from the Hymenoptera community and existing ontology projects is vital to the success of this project. Based on our experiences as collaborators and project team members for Morphbank (DBI-0446224) and the Platygastroidea PBI (DEB-0614764) we realize the utility and importance of frequent and open communication between PIs, team members, collaborators, benefactors, and the communities to be served by the resources we develop. In that regard we will borrow pages from these projects and will establish a schedule that includes weekly team meetings (biweekly with NESCent collaborators Balhoff et al.), bi-monthly PI meetings (PIs of this and collaborating projects; these will involve video conferencing and/or conference calls), and bi-annual meetings of the HO governing board (one virtual, one real). Frequent solicitation of comments from users will also contribute to project directions, and we will establish a public project blog with weekly progress reports.
Participant Training and Workshops
Although great care will be taken to create intuitive interfaces for the software, we realize training and educating users will be important. Several devices will be employed to train, inspire, and then maintain community interest, with a great deal of consideration for the individual in order to capture a broad array of expertise. First, we will push to train those contributing content (classes, relationships, definitions, illustration, etc.) to the HO, and this effort will include primarily one-on-one phone conferences, video tutorials and virtual meetings. Second, as the project develops we plan several group workshops with hymenopterists (systematists, morphologists, genomicists) to discuss the importance of ontologies in enabling future research, to discuss best practices with respect to phenotype descriptions and annotations, to train them in how to use our tools to efficiently in their research (i.e., describe taxa, morphological characters, create online keys, etc.). Third, once a participant is trained we hope to maintain an active, open relationship by creating an Instant Message help desk, public online documentation and blogs, and to provide consistent phone support during regular business hours.
Several approaches to workshops will be taken. A traditional approach is to train groups of hymenopterists in their home environment. These efforts will follow the small self-governed working group model, with extensive opportunity for follow-up on the workshops public blog. The HO board of directors (see Management Plan and Timeline) will consist of an interdisciplinary team designed to monitor and lead the direction of the HO project.
Other approaches include organizing virtual workshops with labs and museums and holding impromptu training sessions at Entomological Society of America, International Society of Hymenopterists, and Entomological Collections Network meetings, where hymenopterists typically congregate. All principle personnel have far-reaching and well-established ties in the community of researchers that study Hymenoptera.
We propose a multi-project coordination effort to act as a testing ground for HO products, an active source for user feedback and as potential for collaboration. The FLYTree (Diptera AToL) and Tabanidae PEET projects, with lead PI Brian Wiegmann, the Lepidoptera AToL, and the Spider AToL provide test cases for expanding our model to fit other domains. Discussions and inclusion of mapping dipteran morphological terms to the base HO ontology will be a first step towards an integrated insect ontology. The close proximity of the proposed HO project and the presently funded FLYTree and Tabainid PEET will facilitate these complex interactions, as both PI Deans and FLYtree PI Wiegmann are at North Carolina State University.
Another major collaboration exists with the presently funded Chalcidoidea PEET. Begun in fall 2007, they have already adopted the existing mx/HO software as the project’s primary infrastructure. Earlier this year the Chalcidoidea PEET hosted a meeting to discuss improvements to their workflow, as they will produce hundreds of novel descriptions during the five years of the project. The large number of descriptions resulting from this project and their great enthusiasm and support for the HAO project, will be used to promote and accelerate the creation of the ontology and as testing ground for the atlas and wizard. A point of discussion from this meeting was workflow improvements; from specimen collection to printed description. The addition of wizard proofing tools and an illustrated atlas will dramatically and positively accelerate this process. Also, with the ontology services we can provide linkage with tools and services developed by other collaborators. We plan to incorporate AntWeb, Plazi, Morphbank, and tools from the Platygastroidea PBI into our own ontology testing and growing workflow, which will help inform on and help us refine taxonomic and phylogenetic workflows.