How do you manage knowledge?

by Jeremy Cherfas on March 29, 2011

If I want to find which wheat line carries Ug99 rust resistance, I don’t go to a genebank database, nor even Theoretical and Applied Genetics TAG on the shelf behind me and where I saw the relevant article. I Google the phrase.

Pat Helsop-Harrison tells it like it is in the Annals of Botany blog. He’s previewing a virtual conference next week that questions how scientists and others share and manage information. Wouldn’t you know it, I’m probably too snowed under producing information myself to pay much attention, but I will be looking for summaries. There are now so many more different kinds of information, and so many different ways of finding things than there were before, that we need new approaches.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Luigi March 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Well I never. I’m not alone.

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Peter March 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Google is the first port of call for all of us (in general), managing data on our behalf.
Oh, and
… I Google “the phrase”, I would try “Ug99 rust resistance”.

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Pat Heslop-Harrison March 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Thanks for comments. Efficient use of keywords developed over decades. Now we need to use language to help Google’s algorithm find germplasm that we are looking for. Does any germplasm database have automatically-generated natural-language descriptions, one per web-page, of its accessions? Does Google find them?

Sorry about my ambiguity in using ‘the phrase’ – I did check that Googling “wheat line carries Ug99 rust resistance” does indeed find the paper (and hence variety Webster) that I wanted as its first choice.

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Luigi March 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I believe GRIN allows indexing by Google. So also does Genesys, according to one of the developers:

I enabled Google to index Genesys remember, that was mid-December, although you can do some sort of trait queries like “Genesys Awend Barley”, this actually works you will get 68 out 512 barley accession indexed on Google; but the problem here is that until today Google crawler only indexed around 2000 accessions, and if it continue on the same rate it will require 63 years to list everything, so my advice keep Genesys for the next 63 years until Google finishes indexing.

But that’s a bit different to what you’re suggesting, which would be more like the “Facebook page for each germplasm accession” idea that I sometimes idly toy with.

Incidentally, re Ug99, this just in.

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John Bakum April 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Luigi,
The link to the graphic regarding Ug99 resistant varieties released or in testing is:
http://www.globalrust.org/db/attachments/bgriiwc/117/8/wheat-varieties-released-map_SMALL_v3.jpg
Thanks!

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Ahmed Amri April 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

There are several sources of resistance to Ug99 not yet reported any any support to be available through Google or GENESYS. I am sure breeders sending their germplasm to be tested in stem rust hot spots have more information and the sharing of this information could allow Google, GENESYS and others to provide such information.
Ahmed

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