Google for Internet Database of all life, and existing initiatives already doing this

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Mar 20 23:08:23 CST 2006

Hi Karen,
      Perhaps an independent effort by Google would actually be helpful, not only in speeding up the process, but perhaps provide a superior product that might force other projects to improve their own efforts.

     I would only hope they would take a top-down approach to classification, something for which many other projects (including Species 2000) have done a pretty sloppy job.  I can only hope your 2006 version has a better higher classification of life than the 2005 version.  Like PLANTAE including the following phyla:  Euglenophyta (also listed as Euglenozoa in Protozoa), Haptophyta (also listed in Chromista), Dinophyta (also listed in Protozoa), Cryptophyta (also listed in Chromista), and worst of all Bacillariophyta (which is actually part of Phylum Ochrophyta in Chromista).  And Phylum Labyrinthulomycota in Chromista is actually a part of Phylum Sagenista (unless you are making the latter paraphyletic)----and worse yet, it is the same as Class Labyrinthulea which is listed in Protozoa.

      I don't even know where to begin with the problems in the classification of Bacteria (your 2005 classification is still a total mess), so I won't even list particulars.  This is a small sample of problems I found in just 15 minutes.  And the number of problems appears to multiply at lower taxonomic levels.  Although NCBI's classification certainly has its problems, they aren't anywhere near that sloppy about it.  A sloppy higher classification is NOT helpful in navigating classification at lower taxonomic levels, and frankly I often find Google searchs more helpful than I do things like the Tree of Life classification (which also has a lot of problems).  Whether Google could do a better job, I can't really say, but I really doubt they would cause me any more frustration than a lot of other internet classifications have caused me.  Species 2000 is not one I would highly recommend in its present form.  It really needs to be organized from the top down by someone who knows what they are doing.  Otherwise, it doesn't serve as a very good "authoritative index" to other databases.
    ------Ken Kinman
P.S.  Does any project yet plan to cover fossil species as well as living species?

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