The Global Directory of Marine and Freshwater Professionals: OceanExpert
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OceanExpert started as the Global Directory of Marine (and Freshwater) Professionals (GLODIR) in 1997 after the IODE Group of Experts on Marine Information Management (GE-MIM) had noted that the International Directory of Marine Scientists project, developed and maintained in the 1970s and 1980s by several UN agencies had been stopped despite its high appreciation by the ocean research community. The first version of the new GLODIR was launched in 1997 as a web product enabling experts to enter and edit their information. Whereas the first version used the full ASFA subject descriptor set to enable experts to define their expertise, this was quickly dropped as experts showed little enthusiasm to spend the time required to pick descriptors from this extensive list. It was therefore decided to use a far more limited list of subject descriptors. In 1999 a number of IASMLIC members agreed to cooperate in GLODIR as national or regional ‘input coordinators’. This led to a rapid increase (doubling!) in the number of entries and GLODIR passed the cape of 10,000 records at the end of 1999. At that time we decided to add the citation field enabling experts to include short descriptions of their most important and/or recent scientific publications. This also proved to be a success as within a year over 15,000 citations were added. Once a year all experts registered in GLODIR received an email inviting them to update their record. On average 30-40% of the experts responded to this request. A big problem turned out to be the password required for editing records: in many cases the registered experts forgot this password and needed to obtain it from us. Another problem was that experts who had not provided an email address (or who had been registered by the national/regional coordinators without an email address): although we attempted to send out printed update requests to over 3000 experts this proved to be an impractical, expensive and time consuming exercise that could not be maintained. By the year 2002 the number of records reached 13,500, of which 3000 did not have an email address.