Distributed public domain databases (DPDD) of biological information on Internet:
An Introduction of a Color Image Database for Japanese Ants

7. Open questions and future perspectives

This research was primarily intended to prepare a DPDD of biological taxonomic information which had previously been accessed only by a limited number of specialists, so that it can be easily utilized by the general public. The research was also intended to revise the method of classification by using high-resolution color pictures instead of type specimens. It is expected that if this database is available on computer networks, taxonomists will be able to exchange and share information with each other, thus contributing to advances in taxonomic studies as well.
At present, we are translating the Japanese text of the database into English so that it will be readily available to foreign users as well. Since taxonomists often use their mother tongue in their works, the native species are often described in their mother tongue. For this reason, no English descriptions are available for the species discovered in Japan, and much more time is needed to complete the translation of such descriptions into English. Forming a coalition with foreign ant researchers is an idea which needs to be explored in the future.
At present, only the basic functions of the WWW server are being utilized by this database. Only a simple identification based on the name of the species is possible with the current system. To accurately identify the species of an ant which has been caught, identification based on two or three features of the ant is indispensable. We are therefore developing a program which will allows us to utilize the complete matrix method identification system [16] on computer networks.
The trial CD-ROM version contains video clips of several ant species moving across open spaces. In the future, we plan to incorporate electronically converted video tapes taken by professional photographers of egg-laying and other ant behaviors. However, since the current data transmission rate in Japan is not high enough to support video, it is not known when we will be able to distribute such images on the network.
In the future, we will be creating this kind of database for other species (our first effort will be protists), with the ultimate goal of creating DPDD for all species of organisms throughout the world, primarily making use of graphic data.

Back ::: Forward
Japanese Journal of Computer Science Vol.2, No.1: pp.5-13
Copyright 1995 by The Myrmecological Society of Japan (for English version) and The Japanese Association of Computer Science (for Japanese version),