Digital Publication 2

Ron at Ron at
Tue Jun 26 15:14:02 CDT 2001

So far the discussion has been framed as an either or situation. This
should not be the mindset at all.

There is a difference between scientific publication (which by the current
ICZN code is fulfilled via just 5 CDs being deposited in 5 museum
libraries) and the content of that publication being widely and easily
available. What do we want?  If you want to look a particular Rembrandt you
will need to go to the museum where the _only_ original is. If you just
want to "see it",  you can find hundreds of copies just like it and buy one
cheep and hang it on your wall. It gives you all the same
information.  This tells me that we are not just talking about having full
access a given taxonomic paper - but control of it.  Who is going to
control, be in charge, official. Ah, now I see why it is either or.

You want durable?   Go back to stone - resists fire far better than
paper or CDs. Earthquake? Flood? Yup, stone is your medium.Written in
stone, painted on Rock. Then we moved to paper - not nearly as permanent as
stone, but we have refined paper to a real high level of durability.  BUT,
of course scissors cut paper, rocks still crush scissors, but then paper
covers stones. Yes, that is a child's game - which in reality is
what needs to be avoided here. A bunch of grown up kids playing games. Word
games. Symantec games. Ten syllable words games. And have your dictionary
and thesaurus handy words games. Where is common sense?

The rules, codes, are here for us - we are not here for them. Thus, the
original needs to be durrable - not eternal - and not because a code says
so, but because that is the best we humans can do.  The original set of the
production needs to be of numerous (5?) identical (textually) copies. And
priority is unique to taxonomists - and very important.

The internet is frail. It is a tool that is only as good as its
programmers, technicians, software etc, and as dependable as the computer
manufacturers, local elcectric companies,  hook-up service providers,
ability to pay ones bill to Web page host, etc.  To be thinking about
a single location intrusted to...
    "...if they *do* create a single, central, interdisciplinary science
archive, then every government and science agency in the world will work
diligently to ensure that it persists as long as there are people to use
it. It would be self-destructive for us to isolate ourselves from such an
endeavor, akin to stuffing money in a mattress instead of putting it in an
insured bank." ludicrous.

If there is anything that humanity is really good at it is at being
self-destructive.  Sure, put all your eggs in one basket and trust world
governments (who are all pissed at someone and wish they had The Bomb - and
we know from history how careful waring nations have been to protect
museums, ligraries, hospitols, civilians from harm), and also trust the
high value Joe
six pack (all countries have loads of this type of persons) places on
science - especially bug taxonomy - to be willing to lay down his life to
see that it is preserved forever. Quiet. Shhhhhh. I hear someone listening
to the old Beatles song - Imagine. We all live as one!  Those guys were on
drugs at the time!

Well, I'm having too much fun writing this. I've probably already ticked
someone off so they wish they personally had The Bomb. Hey, I talk for a
living - get paid to shoot off my mouth.

What is needed is multiplicity - not simplicity. What is needed is
networking and multilevel cooperation not one faction trying to build a

I agree that one day libraries as we know them will be a thing of the
past - books will become objects of antiquity and artifacts (the throne
room will have a screen on the wall). Electronic archiving is the thing of
the future. (I know because I saw it on Star Trek and even the world's
worst sci-fi movie, Battlefield Earth.)

One last thing. The ICZN Code is wisely structured to accommodate both
scientific definition (by uniform restriction of technical terms) and
evolutionary theory (by non-regulation of authors textual presentation of
organic interrelation). This is why I hope it never insists on Peer (click)
Review. (Those who don't agree with something will gripe at who the
reviewers were even where reviewed.)   It is also why I trust the code will
never allow on line publication. To do that would mean any kid could
"publish" on an bird that is only in their imagination.

Well, back to work. No, first lunch.


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