@trobertson I think there were two big issues with GrBio, and these issues are equally relevant for the GBIF restoration of that resource. The issues are:
Who is this for?
Who will maintain it?
Who is it for?
The core task of GrBio is to answer the question “what collection has this code?” The audience for this question is fairly small, there’s not a lot to be gained from saying the “AMNH” is the American Museum of Natural History.
However, if we connect the AMNH to a bunch of additional identifiers outside our domain then things get interesting. For example, we can link to Twitter and Instagram, to identifiers used by funding agencies, and more. For example, I built a simple to tool to look up institution codes in Wikidata: https://empty-opal.glitch.me/?q=AMNH This is pretty basic but already is feels richer than GrBio.
Some Wikidata records include collection size, membership in BHL, etc., so we can start to do some analysis of collection size, and institutional participation in digitisation efforts. Identifiers such as grid and ringgold enable links to be made between institutional and individual identifiers (the sort of thing @dshorthouse is doing with https://bloodhound-tracker.net ).
Who will maintain it?
Schindel et al. 2016 (doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e10293) appealed for community curation or GrBio, which didn’t really happen, see also the discussion on iPhylo GRBio: A Call for Community Curation - what community?. I think rather than repeat the same mistake (building something and hoping people will come) why not go to where there is a community? Once again, Wikidata seems the obvious place for this to happen. Many institutions already have entries, and the editing tools already exist. Wikidata supports a wealth of identifiers, as well as support for multiple languages, geographic location, images, relationships between parts, supporting evidence, etc.
So, the TL;DR version is the following:
- Use Wikidata as the data platform for institutions
- Invite people to edit the data there (much of this will happen anyway)
- Add GBIF-specific identifiers to Wikidata, such as the UUIDs and the “cool URIs” so that GBIF can link to the richer Wikidata content.
- Build a tool to sit on top of Wikidata and make that “GrBio”.
In additional to all the arguments about the richness of Wikidata records, there is also the value in getting people at these institutions to see the value of GBIF. Many institutions are engaging with Wikipedia (e.g., the GLAM Wiki project) and Wikipedia is becoming a key resource for them to make their collections (broadly defined) more accessible. Let’s get biodiversity science integrated into this broader effort. Looking at the Instagram pages for some museums, e.g. https://empty-opal.glitch.me/?q=C or https://empty-opal.glitch.me/?q=AM we can see lots of cool stuff going on that seems disconnected from our community.
In summary, I think we need there’s an opportunity here to make something useful, so long as we are prepared to learn the lessons of GrBio: make something broadly useful and highly connected, and engage with existing communities that are passionate about museums, data, or both.