VegBank receives its data from the VegBank community of users. Once users have loaded data, other users may add comments, or annotate other users' data. The VegBank database is set up so that data is never overwritten, but new data may be added in certain areas. Please see our overview of concept based taxonomy if you aren't familiar with what a plant concept or what a community concept is.
The main ways to annotate data are:
- Interpreting plants observed on a plot to a particular plant concept
- Classifying plots to a particular community concept
- Adding notes
When you view a plot, there can be many interpretations of each plot as a different community. Certified VegBank users can interpret plots to one or more communities. Each user may have a different opinion. Similarly, each plant observed on a plot may have more than one interpretation of which plant concept it matches. Certified users may make these interpretations as well, and each user may have a different answer.
This means that you, the user, will need to decide which interpretation to use when there are multiple interpretations. Currently, there are very few cases of multiple interpretations in the database. But as users make interpretations, you will likely gain a better idea for what a plant on a plot is or what community a plot represents. As annotations increase, we plan to create preset filters that allow you to automatically view the most recent interpretation, the best fit-confidence pattern interpretation, or the original interpretation.
- A plant: View details of the plant
on a plot view [example].
Then follow the instructions on the form. You'll need to know which plant concept you want to
annotate to. This can be found using the Plant Query.
How it works and why users annotate. For each species that occurs on a plot, the plot author records the name that was used for the plant, as well as the reference that was used to determine the name. The author also makes at least one interpretation of that plant, which is the original interpretation. Other users, if they have some knowledge of the plot or the region, can interpret what a plant as a different plant concept. Reasons for doing so could be that taxonomy has changed and the author's taxon has been split. Also, cases exist where the plot author was uncertain of what the plant was. Subsequent users may interpret the taxon, perhaps based on a voucher, to clarify what the taxon is likely to be. Each assignment may have its own fit and confidence, which are the party's self-assessment of how well the plant on the plot matches the plant concept, and how sure the party is that such a fit is indeed accurate.
- A plot: The Interpretation of a plot to a community functionality is
currently being developed. Coming soon!
How it works and why users annotate: Once a user has viewed a plot in VegBank, he or she may decide that it belongs to a certain community type. Each observation may be interpreted multiple times as belonging to different community types. Each party may have its own opinion to which community (or communities) an observation belongs. Users may interpret plots because no prior interpretations exist in VegBank. Also, many different systems of plant communities exist (some maintained at the state/province level, some maintained at the national level), so users may want to interpret to a new system. Similar to plant interpretations, changes in taxonomy may result in the need for reclassification of plots. Each assignment may have its own fit and confidence, which are the party's self-assessment of how well the observation matches the community, and how sure the party is that such a fit is indeed accurate.
- A note: Users will be able to add notes to any field of a plot (or any entity). These serve primarily to provide other users with comments to increase their understanding of the plot. Notes about values which are likely erroneous are welcomed. The "Adding Notes" functionality has not yet been delevopled, but we plan to implement it in the future.