Ed Baker

Edward Baker's picture
Area of Taxonomic Interest: 
Phasmida, Blattodea
Country: 
United Kingdom
Role: 
Informatics Advisor

Geological fieldwork
Mazon Creek, Illinois
Photo: Sam Heads

At the ICZN I have responsibility for recieving new Case applications and arranging for their initial review by Commissioners, as well as responsibility for the website development and maintainence. In practise this is a varied role as the ICZN website continues to grow both in volume and variety of content. My work on the website invovles making our outputs available not only to our traditional audience of practising zoologists, but also in a way that it can be used by the growing community of biodiversity informaticians. As well as developing the web technologies to support these processes I am involved in the digitisation of our historical publications.

The ICZN website uses the Scratchpads platform developed initially under the EDIT project and now by ViBRANT and eMonocot. Scratchpads have taken the open-source and community developed Drupal content management system and developed a suite of features for the managemnet of biological data. Where it is useful and possible additional tools developed for the ICZN website are made freely available for use by the Scratchpad and Drupal communities (e.g. our Biblio Scholar module).

My zoological interest is the orthopteroid insect orders, mainly stick insects (Phasmida) and cockroaches (Blattodea). I help to edit the Phasmida Species File and edit the journals Phasmid Studies and Cockroach Studies.

Outside of the ICZN I work for the Natural History Museum, London developing the Scratchpads e-taxonomy platform as part of the eMonocot project. One of the objectives of the eMonocot project is to ensure that the systems developed for their botanical communities may also be used by zoologists. In practise this will mean developing strong links between Scratchpads and ZooBank, a process we have already started by using ZooBank alongside the International Plant Names Index (IPNI) in our Biblio Autocomplete module for Drupal.

I am also involved in the expansion of the Scratchpads platform so that it can be used by the palaeontological community (e.g. Baker, Johnson & Young, 2011).

I also have an active interest in a number of projects that use technology as a platform for citizen science or science communication. These include development of the Scratchpads platform for use in BioBlitz events (e.g. the Lyme Regis Geo/Bio Blitz), applications of digitised geological maps, visualising geographical and temporal changes in biodiversity and temporary long range WIFi networks.

Left: Video link to the field (using WiFi over 1.7km). Lyme Regis Fossil Festival.
Right: On the 1924 cliff edge, Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis (located using a digitised map and an iPad) (Photo: Aodhan Butler)

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith