Report Atlas of Living Australia User Needs Analysis

Citation: John Tann, Lynda Kelly and Paul Flemons. 2008. Atlas of Living Australia User Needs Analysis. 152 pp. Atlas of Living Australia.


Atlas of Living Australia User Needs Analysis - Executive Summary

The Atlas of Living Australia needs to be responsive to opportunities to make biodiversity data available and relevant for different user groups. This user needs analysis has been conducted to support this goal and to help the ALA establish priorities.

This user needs analysis conducted:
- an email survey with 242 responses from a broad cross-section of people working with biodiversity data across Australia
- 3 workshops in Sydney and Brisbane for people from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and discuss individual and common themes
- 20 in-depth interviews in regional Australia to appreciate their workflow and reveal each user's needs and difficulties
- a natural resource assessment longitudinal study in southern Western Australia documenting the difficulties and obstacles to data use and discovery in an environmental assessment process
- 6 discussion sessions at TDWG 2008 Annual Conference in Fremantle, WA, engaging experts and specialists to explore essential identified tasks

Identified major tasks of importance to users
- Distribution analysis - determining or applying the likely range for any given species
- Identification - determining the name or taxonomic group for a particular organism
- Site Assessment - reporting the list of species known, or expected to occur at a particular site
- Habitat management planning - how to best manage an area for conservation
- Managing references - maintaining a database or collection as a current information resource
- Community engagement - producing materials to educate the public
- Fact-finding - general research to find out information for any species
- Synecology / food-web analysis - exploring the interactions and dependencies between organisms
- Biosecurity - understanding introduced organisms, wildlife diseases and biological control

Areas of significance for users
- Amateur observations and ad hoc data - how best to assist and encourage the capture of observational data from amateur naturalists and other independent specialists, and manage issues of quality
- Sensitive data - how to manage the many forms of sensitive and restricted data to meet the needs of users while maintaining safeguards to the satisfaction of data providers
- Names - correct and current names are highly important. How best to deal with this lack of a well-maintained and authoritative name service which addresses the needs of the many who use biodiversity data.

Common subjects of importance to users
- Currency - knowing that the data they are accessing is current - particularly in relation to names data
- Accuracy - an understanding of data accuracy - particularly in relation to geography and taxonomy
- Comprehensiveness - access to complete datasets - not just portions of what was potentially available
- Validation - having some measure of validation of data - to enable judgements of data suitability
- Documentation - good documentation of each data record as well as each dataset
- Ease of access - data that is easy to access and to understand its nature
- A reliable and authoritative source - trust can only come from a reliable and authoritative source of data

This user needs analysis has identified workflows, key difficulties and the expressed needs of people who use biodiversity data in their work and study. The results presented here will help guide the early planning and implementation of the Atlas of Living Australia.

Full PDF: Atlas of Living Australia User Needs Analysis

Last Updated:

Tags ALA, Atlas of Living Australia, User Needs Study, user, user needs, biodiversity,