Mike D's rational comments (NOT grandiosity!)

Lou Bjostad lbjostad at LAMAR.COLOSTATE.EDU
Tue Jun 20 09:46:06 CDT 1995

>To add my two bits about Mike D's comment that "No one should be
>contemplating constructing conventional keys as identification aids":
>Let's not forget that most of the world's biodiversity is in countries that
>have an awfully tough time affording computing resources.  We must consider
>the needs and resources of third-world countries if we are to set
>priorities in the techniques used in systematic work.  It's great to set
>our sights high and dream of an ideal world, but we are not there yet, and
>keys printed on paper will still be used by those sweating over microscopes
>lit by flashlights in tropical forests.
>Wayne Maddison

Well, I guess I need to throw in two bits to argue just the reverse.  In my
recent travels to universities in Guatemala, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri
Lanka, I have noticed that computers are cheap and common, and have modem
connections to the internet more often than not.  Conversely, printed
materials are expensive and difficult to get, and are also risky to order
because the mail systems are often quite unreliable in developing
countries.  In terms of cost, accessibility, and reliability, internet
resources (such as Tree of Life, Wayne!) are already even more useful in
developing countries than they are in the most industrialized nations.

Lou Bjostad, Entomology Dept.          lbjostad at lamar.colostate.edu
Colorado State University              Phone: 303-491-5987
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 USA       Fax:   303-491-0564

World Wide Web: http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Entomology/ent.html

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