Quick Links
See also
Current Data

Data Use Policy

C. Guidelines for access and use of the PEL data

The collection, proofing, taxonomic synchronization, and organization of these data entailed considerable effort on the part of the primary researchers engaged in these projects. For these reasons, and to ensure careful and legitimate use of these data, we have developed the following policies regarding data access and staged release. These policies are designed to balance the needs of those who generate these data with the wider needs of the scientific community for access to those data. Thus, policies depend on just which data are sought and what use is to be made of them. At all times, we welcome inquiries regarding how these might be used and the potential for collaboration.

1. Curtis historical data on plant community composition

These data were collected and archived by the students and colleagues of John Curtis in the 1940s-1950s. Their original data files include raw data sheets, hand-drawn maps of many sites, and summary data sheets and cards, all in paper form. These data are stored in filing cabinets in a locked room in Birge Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Many of these data were also converted to digital format (Lotus 1-2-3 format) by Charles Umbanhower in the eaely 1990s. He generously makes these data freely available via his website: http://www.stolaf.edu/people/ceumb/PEL.html

These digital files provide excellent tools for exploring the nature and potential utility of these data and for instruction (e.g., sample data sets). Users, however, should be aware that these files contain some omissions and errors stemming from the original recording and entering of the data (e.g., misspellings, unintelligible handwriting, errors in the location information, etc.). In addition, they have not been synchronized with modern taxonomy.

For these reasons, we recommend that colleagues who want to use these historical data for research contact us to make arrangements to access the original data sheets, e.g. by visiting Madison or requesting copies of particular files. We encourage the use of these paper data files but ask that they not leave Birge Hall. We are also pleased to share digital files of those historical data that have been re-coded and proofed. These data include the forested sites re-sampled by folks in the Waller lab and are available in Microsoft Excel or Access format. We hope to post these data publicly soon. In the meantime, please send an e-mail addressed to one of the contacts listed below.


Prof. Don Waller 608-263-2042 dmwaller@wisc.edu
Prof. Tom Givnish 608-262-5718 givnish@wisc.edu

Data Request Form