Electronic matters

Ted Oliver olivert at NBICT.NBI.AC.ZA
Thu Mar 27 11:43:10 CST 1997

Hi there

I fully support the idea of having some central servers providing a
service to the taxonomic community with regard to literature/species
information etc.  If some reputable institute is given sufficient
amounts of  'international' funding to set everything up, control and
 maintain it we would be some way on the road  to taxonomic paradise
.... but!!    That is probably far off in the next century.

Clearly though publication of new species will have to continue in
'reputable' widely available journals for a long time to come.  These
could then be extracted (with permission) for the main database for
access by everyone at the push of a few buttons.

Problem though is accessibility.  Alexey mentions the problems in
Russia and asks about other places.  Internet is fine and exciting
but when from our institute it can take a long time (sometimes never
due to breakdowns in the lines) for us to get things off the
internet, things become very frustrating.  Recently some visitors
here from the USA were horrified how slow the internet was down south
here.   We find it best to get access when the US is asleep
(midnight to 6am -- fortunately for us am working hours).  Access
for botanists north of our borders would improve contact with the
outside world tremendously.  We are involved in a network of southern
African herbaria but when one hears that some places sometimes don't
have the funding to pay their electricity bills then internet is a
bit dicey - - let alone trying to keep up with journals etc when our
own currency has devalued almost 100% in the last few years!!

No doubt this subject has been discussed lots of times before at
 congresses and meetings with not much concrete arising from
the discussions.  But it should not be dropped as it is the  way to
go for the future of our subject.

E.G.H. `Ted' OLIVER  (Mr)
Compton Herbarium
National Botanical Institute,  Kirstenbosch
P Bag X7,  Claremont,  7735 SOUTH AFRICA
Tel: +27 21 7621166    Fax: +27 21 761 4151

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