Web citations

Paul L.Th. Beuk beuk at BIO.UVA.NL
Thu Sep 18 08:39:46 CDT 1997

Cliff Wetmore wrote (17.ix.1997):

>    There is a major problem that has been developing in monographic
>studies. The editors of jounals will not let us cite many specimens seen. In
>a recent case I was told I could cite only two specimens per state in common
>species. To me the list of cited specimens is over half of the value of a
>monograph! I can look at the cited specimens and check the herbarium for
>dupicates so I know what the monographer means. I have often had project
>contracts the required searching the literature for species records of
>lichens in National Parks, states, counties, etc. Recent abbreviated
>citations lists don't help much in any of these. One monographer doesn't
>borrow any material and only cites his own collections.

I agree that full lists of examined specimens/material are the best. Others
can check your data (if necessary) or compare your data with their own data
and maybe supply new information.

>     Now, I can put data bases or list of all speciemns seen on the Web but
>how does anyone ever cite a Web page? Is it a valid citation? If I look at
>someone's Web page and see that they have recorded these X species from X
>park, can I cite the page or do I just have to ignore that valuable
>information? The citations can be made available on the Web but why do it if
>noone can use it and cite it?  Any suggestions?

In a paper I published last year I refered to the Defence Mapping Agency's
GEONet Names Server. I used it as source for the coordinates of the
localities where my specimens came from. I cited the URL in the text
(http://www.dma.gov/gns/html/index.html). One would expect that established
institutions would not change server names very often but since last year
the URL has been changed to http://www.nima.mil/gns/html/index.html and the
old URL does not work any more. Moreover, the page now opens with the
following note:

NOTE: The GEOnet Names Server address has changed
from: (
to: (

So addresses can change frequently for cited Web pages. Likewise can other
things change: List of specimens on the Web can be removed, new material
can be added to a list after you extracted your data from it, etc.

I realise this is hardly a suggestion to solve your problem but it shows
some of the problems you can have while trying to cite Web pages in papers.


Paul L.Th. Beuk                          -
Zoological Museum                        -
Department of Entomology                 -   Phone:  + 31 20 5256527
Plantage Middenlaan 64                   -   Fax:    + 31 20 5256528
NL-1018 DH Amsterdam                     -   E-mail: beuk at bio.uva.nl
Netherlands                              -

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