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

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Wed Mar 22 08:32:04 CST 2006

> As to the discussion between John/Ken/Doug on the "right" taxonomy, one of
> my hopes is to tap Google for their algorithmic ranking expertise to apply
> an analog of "PageRank" to any given taxon name -- that is, an objective,
> algorithmically derived ranking for each name based on some sort of metric
> incorporating the number, recency, and "quality" of each assertion/citation
> about each named node in any classification.  The general public could be
> presented with the "I'm feeling lucky" equivalent of each name's status,
> thus presenting the appearance of a "single" classification.  The more nerdy
> types (like us) can be presented with some sort of numeric value
> representing the algorithmic "stability" of each name, so we can get a sense
> about the extent to which consensus has been reached by the community.

Funny you should mention the 'feeling lucky thing'.  In one of our
database meetings the other day I said we needed a 'feeling lucky' option
to cut through all the alternative taxonomic noise in those circumstances
where people really do not care or need to know about options.

It turned out we had already developed one and did not know it.  The
Apustralian Plant Name Index attempts to document all published taxonomies
- it still has a way to go :) - and you just take your pick depending on
how you feel or who like or dislike.  The Australia Plant Census,
described in the last post, is the best guess selection of these as a
result of human evaluation.

So, we did not have to make it - we just have to rebadge a button... :)


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