database integrity

Barry Roth barryr at UCMP1.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed May 5 19:49:45 CDT 1993

Colleague Rob Guralnick's posting makes me think there is a
natural law that might be expressed like this:  information
degrades in proportion to distance from its originator.

The principle also seems to operate in biodiversity/natural
heritage databases.  Solid information that originated with
systematists may get diluted, overwritten, or incomprehensibly
edited ...  This was not addressed in the February 1993 ASC
Newsletter article on conservation databases.

Should management of biodiversity/natural heritage databases be
kept in the hands of systematists and collection managers, who
have a personal stake in the quality of the information?  With
the sanctions of peer review to keep us honest?

Barry Roth
Museum of Paleontology
University of California, Berkeley
barryr at
Phone: (415) 387-8538

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