Fwd: Re: Digital Publication

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Tue Jun 26 16:23:39 CDT 2001

Bob Morris wrote:

>Ummm, I would say http://http://www.itis.usda.gov/ is exactly what you
>believe would take a miracle, and it has been publicly funded for
>quite a few years in cooperation with its Canadian and now Mexican
>partners. Although both the US and Canadian organizations are bound to
>focus on organisms known in their countries, they have no requirement
>to do so and seek contributions of other taxa. In addition, there are
>no good reasons at all why ITIS has to have the entirety of the
>data---never mind replications.

If anything, that site sort of emphasizes my point - the ITIS does
not have enough public support to ever contain all of the data, and
what we need is a site that DOES (there *are* good reasons, plenty of
them). They rely on voluntary donations of data
(http://www.itis.usda.gov/submit.html), and accordingly can't
realistically hope to complete the project. There aren't enough
altruistic people in existence to happily type in 1 million species
names, for free (especially since most of the butterflies have
already been entered). For all the years it's been going, it still
lacks data on the vast majority of arthropods in North America, and
it most certainly does not contain the actual text of original
descriptions. If there is support for an online library of every
scientific publication in every discipline, then - by definition -
all taxonomic publications would be included, but only if we get our
collective *** in gear and put them all online. That beats us trying
to do it ourselves, piecemeal. It's like gathering local phone
numbers by canvassing your neighbors individually, instead of just
using the phone book.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

More information about the Taxacom mailing list