[Taxacom] Privacy laws and Science

Karen Wilson Karen.Wilson at rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au
Sat Jun 17 21:31:30 CDT 2006

I also agree with Mary and Chris. The name of the person doing the
identification is the most useful information to give (knowledgeable)

A second useful piece of information to give users is the date of
identification. The date will indicate (again, to knowledgeable users)
whether, for example, the determination was made before or after that
person published a revision of the group concerned. 
I say 'knowledgeable users' because they are the only group who will be
able to fully appreciate such information. 
The general user will probably be happier with something like Arthur's
suggested A, B, etc., rating scheme. 

The same principles apply when dealing with species information rather
than specimens. Thus, for each contributed species record in the
Catalogue of Life, Species 2000 and ITIS cite just the person's name
(where provided by the source database - not always provided) and the
date in the field 'Latest Taxonomic Scrutiny'. We considered a rating
scheme but decided that is invidious because it depends on someone
making an assessment of how to rank the abilities/knowledge of someone
else. This way, we leave it to the user to assess the authoritativeness
of the record for themselves. 

General users will not be comfortable assessing this kind of information
but, as I say, there is a problem with implementing a rating scheme. Who
is willing to be a judge of whether the person identifying a specimen is
a global expert or a regional expert or a knowledgeable collector or
whatever?  An invidious task, indeed!

Karen W. 

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Mary Barkworth
Sent: Saturday, 17 June 2006 6:22 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Privacy laws and Science

I wholeheartedly endorse Christian Thompson's statement about knowing
who identified the specimen - and not some "authorityy level".  Indeed,
I have gone further and pointed out to some people that if they annotate
our specimens the benefits of their work are rapdily shared with others
because we post our data to GBIF on a regular basis.  Having said which,
I must check to see why the name of the person annotating the specimen
is not available on the records that I just checked. 


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