ALA continues to focus on data quality

ALA continues to focus on data quality

  • By Lynne Sealie
  •  April 1, 2011
  •  Tags:  Blogs & news Data

by Lynne Sealie, Miles Nicholls and Matt Branford, Atlas of Living Australia

ALA is making improvements to data quality on many fronts.

As we work with data providers, including Australian museums, herbaria and state government conservation agencies, to mobilise their data, we are ensuring their work is acknowledged as authoritative.

We are funding a major program of work to create the most comprehensive names list for Australian species. This species names list forms a core resource for linking records and resources to species.

We are also building a suite of quality checks and reporting into ALA’s data indexing and ingestion processes. These checks compare values and metadata for consistency within a record, a data set and between data sets. The checking algorithms are being developed in collaboration with users of biodiversity data and others who have experience in collecting, aggregating and analysing biodiversity data.

We are encouraging the use of international biodiversity data interchange standards such as Darwin Core and Ecological Metadata Language and making resources shared via the ALA available using these standards.

Other quality related features of ALA include:

  • the ability to annotate pages and records, which encourages review and discussion
  • collecting and surfacing metadata, which provides information to allow users to find data appropriate to the requirements of their analysis
  • incorporating quality considerations into the citizen science tools. For example, facilitating the inclusion of information that validates their observations.

General Changes

ALA users are benefiting from other recent improvements:

  • more indexes for more fields = faster searching
  • display charts on collection and institution pages
  • new ‘breakdown’ services for collection statistics
  • a message is posted to the notification service when an assertion is added
  • location notes are displayed on record pages.

The Atlas of Living Australia is an ‘open source’ project. If you would like more detail, contact us or access the project repositories directly at: