2017 Conference Info

ACCESS 2017 will be held on the campus of McGill University in Burnside Hall, located in Montreal’s downtown core on Sherbrooke St West.  We intend to give you a taste of Quebec, from featured talks about James Bay to baguettes, bagels, brews and more.


COINAtlantic ACCESS Workshop

Data Management for Research with Special Focus on Species Occurrence Data

Workshop leaders:

Mary Kennedy, OBIS Canada

Andrew Sherin, COINAtlantic

Workshop Contact:  Andrew Sherin email: a.sherin@dal.ca

Objective: The aim of this workshop is to promote best practices in data management to facilitate data accessibility and integration with habitat measurements and to connect the Atlantic Canadian coastal and estuarine biological research community to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS).

Who should attend?: Any researcher, student, citizen scientist, community group, staff or volunteer who has collected or plans to collect data (or works with an existing dataset) that includes georeferenced observations and wants to ensure their data is eventually accessible for the benefit of the wider scientific community and support national and global biodiversity objectives such as those set by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Although the focus is on biodiversity the data management procedures described are applicable to any coastal and estuarine dataset.  (Participants are encouraged to bring along a dataset to work on.)

Participants are encouraged to bring some of their own data to be used in the hands on sessions.

Workshop Schedule

09:00-09:10  Introductions

09:10-09:30  Module 1: Making research data accessible

  • Why share (research) data?
  • Data policies and data management plans and data repositories
  • Do you know what your data policy is? Demo of the COINAtlantic Data Accessibility Self-Assessment Tool

09:30-09:45  Module 2: Introduction to OBIS

  • What is OBIS and who is the OBIS community?
  • What if my dataset doesn’t contain marine taxa or distribution information?
  • Data providers & data users
  • Data flow & data sharing (regional OBIS nodes & data repositories)
  • Access to data: OBIS data portal & COINAtlantic Search Utility custom application for the OBIS Canada IPT

09:45-10:00  Module 3: Introduction to the standards used by OBIS

  • Darwin Core terms
  • Taxonomic standards
  • Geospatial standards
  • Measurements and ‘data type’ vocabularies
  • Metadata standards

10:15-10:30  Break

10:30-11:00  Module 4: Map your dataset content to Darwin Core terms

11:00-11:30  Module 5: Clean and reformat dataset content

1130-1200  Module 6: Standardizing species lists

12:00-13:00  Lunch on your own

13:00-14:15  Module 7: Georeferencing observations

  • Georeferencing best practices
  • Using gazetteers to standardize location place names

15:00-15:15  Break

15:15-16:00  Module 8: Metadata (data required to properly interpret a dataset and facilitate reuse)

  • Compose EML metadata for datasets
  • Create metadata including the COINAtlantic GeoContent Generator

16:00-16:30  Module 9: ‘Data processing’ of your datasets

16:30-17:00  Discussion

Cost: $10 to cover morning and afternoon nutrition breaks, lunch is available for purchase on site

The workshop will be held in McGill’s Geographic Information Centre (GIC) on the 5th floor of Burside Hall.



As usual, we will start off ACCESS with a cash bar social and poster session, this year on Wednesday night, May 17 from 5:00-8:00 pm.  There will be snacks and a free drink to start you off.  This social and all lunches and breaks will be held along with the poster session in McGill’s Geographic Information Centre, on the 5th floor of Burnside Hall.



Our banquet will be at Casa Greque Restaurant (www.casagreque.ca), located on the pedestrian street Prince-Arthur east, just across from picturesque Square Saint-Louis.  It is a 15 minute walk from Burnside Hall.  Once there you will be able to make your selection from a set menu that includes souvlaki, sole, chicken, or beef (all with sides of rice, potato and salad as well as coffee/tea and dessert). Vegetarian options are available: Greek salad, Spinach pie or pasta with red sauce.  Only vegan meals must be arranged in advance, please note this on your registration form.

SYMPOSIUM May 18- Sustainability of Coastal Ecosystem Services under Environmental Change

The opening symposium Thursday morning will feature researchers working with indigenous and subsistence-based communities of James Bay and northern Quebec. It also is open to submissions from all conference registrants – please indicate on your registration form.


Some attendees may want to take advantage of the trip and enjoy more time in Montreal.  Thus, we are working on a visit(s) that looks at water quality management in the City – as the nearest estuarine site is more than 3 hours drive east of the City.


We have reserved blocks of rooms (until April 1) in two of McGill’s dorms that are a very short walk from Burnside Hall:  both single and double rooms in La Citadelle ($124/night; a renovated hotel with a 26th floor common space and fitness center with views of the city and mountains) and single rooms at the Royal Victoria College dormitory ($45/night).  Call (514) 398-5200 to reserve and see this link to get further info on these and McGill’s other accommodations: www.mcgill.ca/accommodations/summer.  Neither site has parking, nor does McGill’s downtown campus.  In fact the campus limits auto access.  If you have a mobility problem we will ask for a special pass.  There are numerous parking lots and parking garages downtown.



Email conference organizer, Gail Chmura: gail.chmura@mcgill.ca