Index Kewensis on CD-ROM

Nancy Morin morin at MOBOT.ORG
Mon Dec 29 11:34:56 CST 1997

The process of scanning the books and then correcting the scan, and
making sense of all the different typefaces used over the years for
different purposes, at a time when scanners weren't all that accurate to
begin with, took an enormous amount of effort, of course.

On Mon, 29 Dec 1997, Thomas G. Lammers wrote:

> At 06:28 PM 12-20-97 +0800, Les Watson wrote:
> >     This is not the downside of modern technology.  It is the downside of
> >leaving the authoritative Index in the hands of an institution which is
> >unable or unwilling to apply the technology in a legitimate way; viz., to
> >render the Index readily and inexpensively accessible, in continuously
> >updated form, to the scientific community at large.  The original cost of
> >the CD-ROM put it beyond the reach of most individual botanists, and of many
> >herbaria - for whom out of date versions are of little use anyway;  and the
> >cost of periodic updates (themselves out of date from the time of issue)
> >should come as no surprise.
>         Yes, it IS the downside of modern technology.  It costs MONEY to
> assemble the data and place them on CD-ROM.   SOMEONE has to pay for that
> effort.  That someone is the consumer.
>         This is a FAR larger question that systematics or even science.  The
> need for people to profit (or at least meet expenses) in some fashion from
> their effort.  It would all be very lovely if Index Kewensis were available
> gratis over the Web, but that don't pay the bills.
>         Now that I've defended the producers of the IK CD-ROM, I'll take my
> own little potshot.  It does seem that the price charged must go WAY beyond
> recouping expenses or a modest profit; after all, most of the data were
> already gathered over the past century (under ol' Chuck Darwin's aegis, I
> believe), and not much editing of entries is evident.   Perhaps placing it
> on-line and paying an annual fee might be a better way to go.
> Thomas G. Lammers
> Classification, Nomenclature, Phylogeny and Biogeography
> of the Campanulaceae, s. lat.
> Department of Botany
> Field Museum of Natural History
> Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
> Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA
> e-mail:    tlammers at
> voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317
> fax:                312-427-2530
> *******************************************************************
> "The most important thing to learn is how to teach yourself.
>  Everything else ... is just detail."
>                                 -- Patrick Gibson

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