Future of CDROM, DVD, etc.

Robin Leech robinl at CONNECT.AB.CA
Fri Apr 28 14:13:13 CDT 2000

If you think books are too expensive in California, try here in Canada.
Most of our books are US made, and with our dollar running about 67 cents
US, it is horrendous.  Try adding the difference in the dollar, going across
the border, adding on local profits, then add on the GST (Government Screw
Tax) of 7%.  In some provinces there are provincial sales taxes, too,
anywhere from 5 to 14%.  Here in Alberta we do not have a direct sales tax.

So, buy the books and lump it.  Kwitchyer bellyakin'. I figure that if I
will use a book at least 5-6 times, I get it, no matter what the cost.

The people who really are hit hard are students.  Our bookstore charges $138
Canadian for Borror et al., 1993, An introduction to the study of insects.
What does it cost in the US?  I am guessing somewhere around $80 US.

Robin Leech
----- Original Message -----
From: "christian thompson" <cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV>
Sent: Friday, April 28, 2000 11:12 AM
Subject: Re: Future of CDROM, DVD, etc.

> Some responses to your:
> F. Christian Thompson
> Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
> Smithsonian Institution
> Washington, D. C. 20560
> (202) 382-1800 voice
> (202) 786-9422 FAX
> cthompso at sel.barc.usda.gov
> >>> "Andrew K. Rindsberg" <arindsberg at GSA.STATE.AL.US> 04/28 12:15 PM >>>
> 3. Despite this, taxonomic books are not universally available, even in
> well-stocked parts of the world like California. What to do?
> As Doug pointed out, books are not available in California BECAUSE they
> TOO EXPENSIVE. So, finding a cheaper means of dissemination BioSysematic
> Information is the obvious answer.
> 4. Also, for about a century, many books were printed on inferior
> materials
> and we will probably lose this information unless the works are reprinted,
> deacidified, or electronically scanned. What should be done about this?
> You have answered your own question. ELCTRONICALLY scan the old
> Consider, if each time a systematist prepared a "species WWW page" they
> include a scan of the original taxonomic description.  Then some day all
> critical original literature would be attached to most recent taxonomic
> revision.  (check our Diptera WWW site for some examples of where we are
> doing this).
> 6. Technologic change is also rapid -- too rapid for long-term storage to
> be effective. Should we expect others to transfer all our data into new
> formats every few years? Or should we feel responsible to archive
> everything in one or another form? How can that be done in practice?
> Yes, some of us will as necessary "migrate" critical literature, which I
> see as those taxonomic WWW taxon pages, to the most appropriate formats of
> the future Internet, etc. Others can print those pages off themselves on
> high quality paper. The decision will be local. Spend your money on
> expensive paper products or on other things. Now many organization are
> trapped into paying the ever increasing costs of paper literature, which
> forces them to cut back on what they purchase and save.
> 8. Electronic publications have some advantages over printed publications,
> notably, they can be longer, more colorful and animated, and can include
> raw data as appendices. In principle, they can be reproduced in great
> numbers at lower cost, and in less space, than printed works. Can we
> envision electronic taxonomic libraries for use, say, in the tropics?
> Obviously, where ever people have access to computers and the Internet,
> whether the tropics or the arctic, etc., they will be able to use the
> "taxonomic libraries" that we will build.
> 9. Electronic publications may be less expensive to distribute, but the
> major costs are in compiling and editing, and especially in performing the
> original research. Can we reduce the cost of journals by encouraging
> scientific societies to publish more of them, as opposed to commercial
> corporations?
> The MAJOR COSTS are in "performing the original research."  And those are
> the same regardless of the dissemination media.  Editing and compiling a
> journal of WWW taxonomic pages is cheaper, easier and faster than a paper
> based journal. It can be all done electronically.  The other problem with
> traditional journals is the cost of paper, printing, mailing, etc.  Our
> scientific societies have problems enough as is that they are unlikely to
> expand their paper journals. At least those societies I have worked for
> (Willi Hennig Society versus Entomological Society of Washington, etc.),
> have the choice of paying for their journals by page-charges or letting an
> commerical corporation do it for them.
> So, the bottom line is electronic publication and dissemination is far
> cheaper and, hence, will save more $$$ dollars that can be spent on
> "performing the original research."
> 10. Electronic publications have a bad track record for becoming suddenly
> unreadable, unlike printed media. Electronic media must be standardized
> and
> made permanently readable before taxonomists can trust electronic media
> for
> long-term storage. Can we expect this to happen, say, in the next hundred
> years?
> Yes, progress has a bad track record. But some how those things that
> Society values are migrated to the new media. Consider the classic
> performances of Toscanini, these are now on CDs.
> Yes, unfortunately Society doesn't value taxonomy much, but I do feel it
> will be easier for me and future taxonomists to "migrate" their critical
> data that are in digital format that it is managing a file of xerox,
> reprints, books, etc.
> 11. Printed-on-demand publications probably do not meet the requirements
> of
> the ICZN at present. Even if electronic media can be made better for
> long-term storage, taxonomists will still have to face the question of
> whether a mutable publication can be allowed for taxonomic purposes.
> Yes, even photographs can be changed now. But then again Stalin did that
> back in the 1930s without Photoshop!  But there are algorithms now that
> be used to ceritfy that the binary record has not be changed, etc.  So,
> requirement in at least our zoological code for immutable original
> publication can be technologically achieved now and in the future.
> Thanks Andy for summarizing the critical points.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list