Luis Rueda's Communication

Barry Hammel hammel at MOBOT.MOBOT.ORG
Wed May 11 06:04:25 CDT 1994


Dear Dr. Rueda:
I didn't download your document so I can't so neatly quote
you.  But, when you imply that electronic publications
shouldn't carry the same weight as paper (of course they
can be peer reviewed!) because they may not be (at this
minute) widely accessible, surely you don't mean that we
should not have been publishing journals all these years
just because most libraries in developing countries have
been and still are inadequate?
  The internet and electronic communication is as great a
leap forward in communication as was the printing press.
Only now, after a hundred years (or however many, since it
was first published) of the Grey Herbarium Index do we
have access to a copy in Costa Rica, thanks to the
internet and gopher.  I don't think your survey of nodes
or whatever it counted, counts for much; at least in
smaller countries the existence of just one node through
one major institution can mean that most of the country's
scientists can have access to the internet information.
  The printing press did not stop us from going to meetings
and giving talks.  Neither will electronic communication
stop the press.  However, the writing is on the wall; IT
WILL BE ONLINE.  This, in combination with the explosion
in computer ownership will do more to break the back of
scientific elitism than could all our frustrated
politically correct efforts multiplied a million times
over.
  A side-effect of computerization and electronic
communication is that our inconsistencies and lack of
standards become more obvious and, one hopes, easier to
correct.  That ties this note back into the original theme
of standardized acronyms for museums.  And "codens" for
specimens?  Maybe the answer there is in barcodes.
              Barry Hammel
              Missouri Botanical Garden




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