outlets for alpha taxonomy

Ron at Ron at
Wed Jan 30 15:03:28 CST 2002

While I am fully on boad with Bill's overall views, I do have one area on
semi-disagreement.  And that is relative to what often times is posed in
these discusions as the eternalness of paper.  Paper is a very fragile
media and has to be attended very carefully to preserve it for even 100
years.  Fire, flood, insects, humidity.  I do not think that it is any more
"permanent" that a CD-R with the same professional library care.  Pluss one
can not take a 100 year old book stick it in a slot and come out with an
absolutely exact clone of it as a backup or even replacment edition.

Let me remind us that that which is important is not the stone tablet, or
paper, or plastic that carries the information -- it is the information
itself.  The only reason the vehicle is "protected" is that if it is
destroyed so is its passenger - the recorded research.  The vehicle medium
is only important to historians and artifactors - and in the far distant
future archeologists.

Ron Gatrelle

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Shear" <wshear at hams-hsc.hsc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 10:31 AM
Subject: Re: outlets for alpha taxonomy

> It has been made abundantly clear by many studies (summarized recently in
> Scientific America) that magnetic and optical media fall far short of the
> permanence of paper publication.  Unlike much of the biological
> which becomes of historical interest only shortly after publication (as
> studies supersede it), taxanomic publication is for the ages.   A century
> from now, it will be necessary to examine the species descriptions,
> and type data published this year.  At this point, without hard copy, it
> difficult to imagine how this will be done.
> Web publication is even more ephemeral than publication via magnetic or
> electronic media.  Hard copy is required to meet the criterion of
> permanence.
> Thus I think the ICZN wise to insist on it until more permanent means of
> electronic publication arise.  Also, the hard copy requirement is
> modest: a few copies can be made and placed in designated repository
> libraries, and the criteria as to what constitutes publication have been
> loosened.
> I do feel a bit resentful about the comment that taxonomic papers "take
> space" in journals that, by implication, might devote their pages to more
> important matters.  Taxonomy IS important, and deserves all of the space
> gets in those relatively few journals still willing to publish it.
> Electronic publication is great, but for now, let's parallel it with hard
> copy for permanence.
> Bill Shear
> Department of Biology
> Hampden-Sydney College
> Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
> (434)223-6172
> FAX (434)223-6374
> email<wshear at email.hsc.edu>
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> ml
> "The editors of newspapers, the popular clergy, politicians and orators
> the day and office-holders, though they may be thought to be of very
> different politics and religion, are essentially one and homogeneous,
> insamuch as they are only the various ingredients of the froth which ever
> floats on the surface of society."
> Henry David Thoreau, Journals, Aug. 9, 1858.

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