More GBIF questions (was: ITIS)

Roderic Page at BIO.GLA.AC.UK
Wed Jun 23 09:43:13 CDT 2004

Regarding the problem of authoritative lists of names, clearly our
current lists have errors. These affect not only names, but
classifications. By definition a classification is a tree, but the
animal and plant classifications in ITIS are not trees (which is why
the Glasgow Name Server only displays trees for names from NCBI). In
the case of ITIS these errors are worrying because ITIS data are used
in other databases, such as Species 2000, uBio, the Glasgow Name
Server, and the SEEK project.

I suspect the way forward is to adopt the tools and mindset of the Open
Source software community. Have open databases of names that people can
annotate (i.e., report "bugs"). The bugs themselves can be seen by (and
commented on by) everybody. Hence, the error mentioned by Richard Petit
(the type species of the genus Cancellaria being attributed to Pilsbry,
1940 instead of to Linnaeus, 1767) would be visible for all to see (and
comment on).



Professor Roderic D. M. Page
Editor Elect, Systematic Biology
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792

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