Illustration uses the analogy of a puzzle pieces coming together to explain the difference between distributed, aggregated, and integrated data. Distributed data is represented as four separate puzzle piece piles representing different themes of a puzzle. The use case for these data are rich high-quality data (conceptual frameworks vary) or species-specific or data-type-specific lines of inquiry. Aggregated data is show as those four piles of puzzle pieces coming together in a box. The use case of the data are large-scale indexing (+/- heuristics) or general search and retrieval. Integrated data shows the full, put-together picture. The use case for the data is careful alignment of distributed data to shared conceptual frameworks, & using consistent identifiers and big picture views, gap detection, & cross-domain insight by both humans and machines.

credit: Melissa Haendel, Ph.D. and Julie McMurry, MPH