A Technician's Life


A Technician's Life


  • 2010 - now
  • man with bird skull

Brad is one of those ROM staff that the visitor rarely sees, yet he is known to scientists around the world. Usually, he is two floors underground at his computer. He contributed this description of his work so that you can see how we are interconnected to our colleagues internationally. JM


My introduction to data entry began with specimens on the National Inventory Program in 1974, which morphed into the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) until its demise in 1996. I have seen many changes to collection-based data and sharing of this information. With the advent of Wide Area Networks on the World Wide Web, our natural history collections are being shared and used by more and more external sources. Researchers to external web sites retrieve and integrate this information into research papers and often provide direct feedback to collections.

One of the main users of these records is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. “The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) was established by governments in 2001 to encourage free and open access to biodiversity data, via the Internet. Through a global network of countries and organizations, GBIF promotes and facilitates the mobilization, access, discovery and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet.” (www.gbif,org)

GBIF currently contains the following information: 416,242,316 data records (363,215,360 with coordinates from 10140 datasets from 562 data publishers. It is fascinating and satisfying for me to see our collections represented here: http://data.gbif.org/datasets/provider/149

As we enter and catalogue and validate more and more of our collections into databases, these numbers will increase. Individuals who have not worked editing data and then assigning coordinates to localities often do not realise that the posting of this information on our collections requires many years and hours of work. It is often awe-inspiring!!!

Currently we look like this on GBIF:




Mammals http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14795/

Fishes http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14793/

Reptiles and Amphibians http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14792/

Green Plant Herbarium (TRT) http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14338/

Fungarium (TRTC)  http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14502/