SPECIALIST SPOTLIGHT: Challenges of Working with Historical Datasets: A Tropical Forest Quest

A session by Sheila Ward

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Sheila describes her efforts to locate old tropical forest data sets in need of curation. These data require many person-hours to collect, but they can help us understand how forests are changing through time and help with forest restoration. Much of these data have not been appropriately archived. The presentation will include search strategies for such data from academic institutions, government agencies, international development agencies, and private individuals around the world, as well as our successes and failures to date. Participants will discuss problems of historical datasets in general, such as different strategies to uncover data, appropriate metadata, electronic archiving, building trust with data holders, and data ownership and use. Attendees will better understand the precarious status of research products, and issues surrounding their long-term protection and use.


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