Stability of Electronic Media for Publication/Data Storage

Hugh Wilson wilson at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Tue May 19 14:16:17 CDT 1998

Data are often submitted by individuals to professional societies as
hardcopy for processing and publication in the journal of the
society.  Libraries and the home society or group 'archive' this
material, which is often actually copyrighted by the *society*.  This
process involves a suite of protocols and data flow 'traditions' that
are in place as precedents for a digital transition.  I think this
year's processing of papers to be presented at the annual meeting of
the Botanical Society of America signals a move in this direction by
a group (BSA) that is willing and able to play an 'old' role under
new (and improved) conditions.  See:

Sure - at present - there is not that much out there, but my point
regarding the preadaptive position of professional societies relates
to the future.  The network will - I think - open 'distributed'
options that will need an organization/procedural core and
professional societies could serve that function quite well,
especially when you consider other options.

On 19 May 98 at 18:43, Stuart G. Poss <sgposs at SEAHORSE.IMS.USM.EDU>

> My experience in fishes is that few individuals or institutions
> presently turn over their data to scientific socieities....

Hugh Wilson wrote:

> Seems to me that converson from paper to digital is going to happen
> as part of the natural course of technological progress, probably in
> ways that we don't appreciate at this point in time.  ...

> Professional societies have served this function - to some
> extent - in the past, and they carry a 'tradition' that could be
> pre-adaptive in this regard.  I don't see any other extant
> organizational structure that could function to establish and
> implement 'community-based' protocols for organizing and archiving
> systematic data that will placed in the digital arena.

> My experience in fishes is that few individuals or institutions presently turn over their data to
> scientific socieities and at present there is as yet little strictly electronic publication
> carried on at the societal level.  Its mostly associated with institutions, specific grants and
> contracts, or the initiative of individual investigators.   Societies, such as ASIH have begun to
> respond, but these archives are not yet widely used, incomplete, and do not extend to publications
> of the society.  To my knowledge there are few examples with protocols for storage, checking data
> integrity, etc.  Is this the rule or the exception in other taxonomic disciplines?  If other
> socieites work like those in fishes, much of this work falls back to individual investigators who
> complete such tasks with very limited resources.

Are there good examples of societies that have established such data/information/publication banks
in taxonomy and systematics that are at all comprehensive enough and as yet widely enough used to be
truely up to the task?  How far back do such societal archives go?  Storage of digital data dates
from the late 1940's but I know of no archives that extend this far back.  How complete are such
societal electronic archives?  Do they have protocols, bylaws, funds in place, etc. to assure the
longterm integrity, completeness of such efforts?

> On 19 May 98 at 14:21, Stuart G. Poss <sgposs at SEAHORSE.IMS.USM.EDU>
> wrote:
> My own view is that we need a collective response, perhaps with
> societies..
> Hugh D. Wilson
> Texas A&M University - Biology
> h-wilson at (409-845-3354)

Stuart G. Poss                       E-mail: sgposs at
Senior Research Scientist & Curator  Tel: (228)872-4238
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory       FAX: (228)872-4204
P.O. Box 7000                        703 East Beach Blvd.
Ocean Springs, MS  39566-7000

Hugh D. Wilson
Texas A&M University - Biology
h-wilson at (409-845-3354)

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