Electronic taxon data and publications++

Hugh D. Wilson wilson at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Mon Oct 30 07:43:25 CST 1995

Doug Yanega points out:

> It seems to me the first of your "main problems" is a fundamental problem
> here that the scientific community has not yet worked out; you imply,
> essentially, that "immediate update/revision" will occur, and that would
> mean such changes would be *unpublished*. It's one thing to propose that
> any taxonomic publications be "registered" electronically, and another
> entirely to propose that a taxonomic change made *only* electronically
> should be considered valid.....

By 'immediate update/revision' I ment relative to hardcopy
publication.  Was not suggesting that this would substitute for
established methods WRT publication.  As opposed to hardcopy
publication such a system would simply be able to express new
information as it is published via 'normal' channels, codes, and
credits.  All nomenclatural changes would be referenced to a
published source and all distributional changes would be linked to
specimen data.  'Problems' I mentioned are limited to taxonomic
opinion, i.e., what is the 'accepted' name for a taxon when various
published options are available, and how do we establish the
foundation for an electronic dialog that would allow 'registration'
of on-going revisions/updates on WWW listings/maps produced by such
a system?

While it seems that such a system could substitute for traditional
paths of scientific publication, its clear that this won't be
happening for some time.  Thus, seems to me that WWW systems under
development should focus on expressing firm (published, specimen
documented) data in ways that are not possible via traditional
publication of hardcopy floras.

Hugh D. Wilson
Texas A&M University - Biology
h-wilson at tamu.edu (409-845-3354)

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