permanent archiving

Tue Jul 14 09:30:57 CDT 1998

As I am sure most of you are aware, the debate has been raging
for years on whether to accept electronically published
descriptions of new taxa as being validly published for the purpose
of establishing new names.
    One of the chief arguments against this is that there is
no guarantee that electronically published information will be
preserved permanently. This is certainly a valid concern, given the
rapid pace at which technology has been changing the past
few decades. However, paper is not guaranteed permanent, either. It is
subject to fire, flood, insects, fungi, and chemical degradation.
     I propose that we adopt the most tried and true method ever
found for permanent preservation of information. I propose that
we begin immediately engraving descriptions of new taxa on
clay tablets. Clay tablets created by the Sumerians are still
legible 7000-8000 years after they were made. To be extra safe,
we could emulate the Sumerian method of storing the tablets, i.e.
burying them in the sand in southern Iraq. I am sure Saddam
Hussein would not object.

Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere
"Computito ergo sum ...  I link therefore I am."

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