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HCIL-2008-25

Parr, C. (May 2008)
Ecological Informatics Internet
Jorgensen, S.E., ed. Encyclopedia of Ecology. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
HCIL-2008-25

Shaping internet technologies for ecology in the next century is an important focus in ecological informatics. The internet, and in particular the world wide web, makes data sharing and collaboration among ecologists far easier than ever before, but significant challenges remain. We provide brief histories and explanations of core internet and web concepts, including protocols and languages and relevant database and digital library concepts. Examples are drawn from the ecological community where possible. Particularly active areas of current research seek to increase the scale of ecological studies, both in terms of the amount and geographic and temporal scale of data, and in the number of people involved and reached. The semantic web aims to facilitate discovery and intelligent integration of distributed data. Grid computing enables large computational analyses across widely distributed computers. Social computing technologies allow distant members of communities to interact and collaborate. These range from traditional electronic mail applications and citizen science web sites, to more modern technology such as wikis and weblogs.. The internet is changing the way ecologists and other scientists conduct and disseminate their work. Finally, ecological concepts are being applied to the study of the internet which in turn provides ideas for the study of ecology.



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