Electronic publication

David Bridge david at SIMSC.SI.EDU
Mon Mar 24 10:00:11 CST 1997


I have been following this discussion with a great deal of interest.
I will make a few comments on the following note :

--- On Mon, 24 Mar 1997 10:21:35 +0100  Hannu Saarenmaa
<hannu.saarenmaa at EEA.DK> wrote:
>
>achieving electronic publication of new taxa is probably the most
>important challenge of taxonomy now.

        At least learning how to live and working effectively in the
        information age, where all data are digital is important.
        We are still at the beginning of the information age,
        with many more changes to come in the next few years.
        We must incorporate digital data into our normal work patterns.

>- longevity:  digital data does not change and is less perishable than
>specimens

        I am not sure that I agree.  It could be "less perishable", but
        only if there is careful planning, support, and commitment to
        preserving the digital data (see below).

>
>However, the heart of the matter is that it is simply not enough that
>each scientist start running a web site to describe his/her taxa.  There
>must be supporting INFRASTRUCTURE: a few credible institutions (regional
>network hubs) providing referee networks (quality assurance), archiving,
>coordination, and a minimal number of necessary printed counterparts of
>descriptions required by ICZN.  They should also work with other,
>traditional publishers to achieve their cooperation.
>

        Archiving and preserving the data is the critical issues.
        I believe it is solvable.  Do I hear digital libraries ?

        It is far to easy for an individual scientist to "publish"
        a new taxa electronically, say on a web site, and then have
        that data lost, because it was not backed up, a natural disaster,
        changes in hardware or software, changes in institutional
        direction, or the individuals interest.

        If the data is to be available in the future (i.e. archived
        permanently), it will need to be copied and converted,
        periodically as the technology changes.  This can only be done,
        if there is an organization committed to this task, which has
        the mandate, resources, and technical skills.

        Because the data will need to be convert, some standards should
        be defined (and revised as needed) to make it easy for people to
        contribute data, as well as to minimize the loss/degradation that
        might occur as the data is convert from one format to another in
        the future.

yours, David Bridge
David at simsc.si.edu




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