NATURE to save taxonomy!

John R. Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Fri Jun 7 14:07:26 CDT 2002

Bill Shear wrote:

>It seems to me that what John is asking for is not access to original
>taxonomic works, such as descriptions of species, genera or families, but
>more material like Platnick's catalog, which was compiled by an authority
>from the literature on this one group, which he knows so well.  This is a
>NEW WORK, not old literature.  Such catalogs can only be compiled by the
>specialists within taxa.  Useful as they may be to workers in biogeography
>and other fields, catalogs are deadly boring to prepare, as well as being
>time-consuming.  We owe a great debt to those who actually do this kind of

I did not intend to seem that I was only interested in catalogues. My
interest is in web pages that cover a range of aspects including taxonomic
descriptions, systematics relationships, and distributions etc.

>While there is limited support for such work (NSF's PEET program encourages
>cataloging, especially if it is done electronically), it might be kind of
>hard to get a grant just to do a catalog.

Agreed, but a more synthetic product should be recognized as being
scientifically worthwhile - and deserving of funding.

John Grehan
Frost Entomological Museum
Pennsylvania State University
Department of Entomology
501 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802. USA.

Phone: (814) 863-2865
Fax: (814) 865-3048

Frost Museum

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