Reply by Jim Croft
beach at HUH.HARVARD.EDU
Tue Feb 16 16:30:40 CST 1993
Response by Jim Croft (ANBG) to taxonomic date data request:
> In response to the query below we are able to offer the following,
> perhaps not particularly useful piece of information, packaged in a none
> too transparent piece of gratuitous advertizing propaganda. ('there is
> no such thing as a free Network' - ancient proverb).
> The Australian Plant Name Index (APNI) is maintained as a database of
> some 60,000 entries, complete with, among other things, the date and
> place of publication of names. The index covers vascular plant names
> that have been associated with Australia and its current territories.
> Of the order of 17,000 of these names are currently accepted.
> Through the marvels of modern science, entries in this database can now
> be queried over the internet using the world famous gopher protocol.
> (contrary the the Chinese Calendar, for biological collections and
> systematics, 1993 is going to be the year of the Gopher - if your PC or
> Mac or workstation is not running a gopher client, then it is missing
> out on what is probably the most significant data communication and
> exchange event this decade, ranking right up there with email, ftp and
> the like. This application is public domain, available on the Internet
> and essentially 'free'. If there are too many cries of 'what is gopher?'
> I am sure taxacom management would agree to the posting of a few
> introductory messages on the subject.)
> Point your gopher client at 126.96.36.199 port 70 and look under ANBG
> information, IBIS database gateway, Aust. Plant Name Index. Read the
> README files ('what for?' do I hear you say? Because if you don't, you
> wont know how to drive it properly) and enter queries on part of
> the plant name, etc. and see what it returns (scientific names only).
> You can also get at the ANBG gopher through the Mother Gopher at the
> Univerity of Minnesota (under Pacific gophers), the Harvard University
> Biodiversity Gopher, and the ANU Biodiversity Gopher and maybe some
> other sites we dont't know about.
> APNI is updated on a regular basis and the records retrieved will reflect
> the latest changes. It is a real-time connection to the database and not
> an archived export file. (On the same gopher, the ANBG herbarium
> specimen database (herbarium CBG) can be accessed in the same manner.)
> APNI is a large dataset (c. 10 - 20 megabytes) representing a soporific
> but essential 4-volume opus, originally compiled by Arthur Chapman, for
> Australian Government Printing Office. An ascii export of the data (a
> snyapsot of the database c. January 1993) will be placed on the Taxacom
> FTP server at Harvard in the near future for people who want to do
> idiosyncratic things with it. We do not propose to post out tapes or
> diskettes of it at this stage because of the time involved.
> As far as the project below goes, Arthur Chapman prepared a poster on
> this topic for the 1987 Berlin International Botanical Congress, based
> on plant names in the Australian flora. As noted below, there were some
> interesting patterns. Arthur can be contacted by email at:
> arthur at erin.gov.au
> Another source of useful data for this project is going to be a slice of
> the Gray Card Index at Harvard. This is in the process of being
> prepared for the Harvard Gopher. See the interim entries and some
> background files there (huh.harvard.edu port 70).
> Now some philosophical stuff: What we are talking about here is a
> research and management tool of unimaginable power, but it will only work
> if there are reasonable amounts of reliable data available to it. Who
> out there are custodians of large amounts of biological data that is
> sitting around, largely under-utilized not justifying the cost of
> collecting it, the cost of maintaining it, nor its very existence? If
> you have lazy data lying around, a gopher server is a simple way of
> making it widely available with minimal imposition on research and
> curatorial staff. Gopher servers are not difficult to manage and
> populate with information, and it is now a relatively straight forward
> task to dynamically link them to a relational database to answer a wide
> range of questions, and to deliver data in a variety of formats. Any
Original posting by Dr. Petersen:
> > Subject: Request for Taxonomic date data.
> > To: Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM <TAXACOM at HARVARDA.HARVARD.EDU>
> > To: >INTERNET:taxacom at harvarda.harvard.edu
> > BACKGROUND
> > I am investigating the temporal pattern of taxonomic activity.
> > This work started as the result of investigations of a database
> > I created from Sibley & Monroe's DISTRIBUTION AND TAXONOMY OF
> > BIRDS OJF THE WORLD.
> > I have investigated the data in many ways; a simple plot of
> > # of species described/year vs. year produces interesting patterns.
> > I have investigated a few other data sets
> > (e.g. avian genera erection dates,
> > dates of arachnid type specimens in the MCZ,
> > new world dragonflies, ...)
> > and wish to study to other groups (including plants).
> > TYPES OF DATA
> > Data sets with a minimum of 1000 records (greater than 3000 preferred).
> > I am particularly interested in taxa whose description spans the period
> > 1790-1815 (where there seems to be a relative GAP in the number of avian
> > citations), but would be interested in hearing of any available
> > datasets.
> > REQUEST
> > I am interested to know of taxonomic data sets containing citation dates
> > available by modem/email (compuserve or internet) or DOS floppies.
> > If you have or know of datasets that might be of interest please
> > contact me.
> > Alan P. Peterson, M.D. internet1: alanpp at halcyon.com
> > POB 1999 internet2: 71500.726 at compuserve.com
> > Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA fax: 509.525.1326
> > vox: 509.527.0274
> > or 509.529.1152
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