Support for Database Maintenance/Aleocharinae

Margaret Thayer thayer at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Mon Nov 27 16:36:53 CST 1995

I generally agree with Norm Penny's comments about the difficulty and
expense of database maintenance and that specialist update of unfamiliar
databases is not likely to be cost-effective, especially on a large scale.
However, I have to agree with a few other posters' comments that databasing
does seem to be a new "normal" thing to do with collections (at various
levels, depending on the taxa) and institutions must expect to support it
just as they support other normal collection operations.  yes, resources are
scarce, but NSF's budget isn't growing, either.

In a slight tangent to Norm's comments (at the risk of being accused of
self-aggrandizement), but to keep overly-alert entomology curators from
deluging us with requests to sort their millions of unsorted aleocharine
staphs, I must point out a factual slip in Norm's post:

>         To give an example from Entomology.  Two years ago
>    Margaret Thayer and Al Newton visited the California Academy
>    of Sciences [some deleted] ... Additionally, 20,000 ...
>    specimens were sorted to genus in the Aleocharinae.

The last line should have said "... to genus _outside_ the Aleocharinae."
No living mortal could do generic sorting of World Aleocharinae, the most
speciose and difficult subfamily of the huge
(> 43,000 spp.) family Staphylinidae.
[But if perchance I'm wrong, and someone can, please let me know - we've got
a hundred thousand or so for you..... ;) ]

Margaret K. Thayer      thayer at
Adjunct Curator
Field Museum of Natural History - Zoology, Insects
Roosevelt Road @ Lake Shore Drive
Chicago IL 60605, USA   tel. 312-922-9410, ext. 838   fax 312-663-5397

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