[Taxacom] Encyclopedia of Life & Taxonomist Funding

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Sat May 12 05:07:13 CDT 2007

The "Million Dollar Page" (http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/) may  
be a useful metaphor. Imagine a grid like this, one species per  
pixel, for attracting sponsorship (and for measuring progress).


On 12 May 2007, at 10:20, Faunaplan at aol.com wrote:

>>> The internet is littered with largely content-free biodiversity  
>>> sites<<
> Alex Wild's comment reflects my own sentiments...
> however, a wonderful spring weekend stimulates some hopeful musings  
> in my
> little people's mind:
> The idea "one page for each species" sounds so clear and  
> straightforward, -
> why not try an equally simple focus on attracting content from a  
> knowledgeable
> community as wide as possible, not restricted to a few more or less  
> privileged
> (but mostly over-worked)  taxonomists based in museums? (and, yes,  
> taxonomy
> will be but a part of it, as Rod said).
> Say,  "50 dollars for a species page", - even if that's just  
> symbolic to some
> extent, - but it could justify an expectation like 1 Million pages  
> for 50
> Million investment. Define the minimum requirements an acceptable  
> species page
> must meet (info on type material, complete synonymy, global  
> distribution
> overview, literature links, etc.), set up a review mechanism (say,  
> each new species
> page will stay in a  review phase for 6 months); focus on such  
> taxonomic groups
> where at least a provisional global "consensus classification" is  
> available
> and fit for use; exclude such species (at least in the first  
> approach) where
> there is nothing but a single publication on type material and the  
> page author
> cannot add anything new.  Avoid high costs for  IT infrastructure  
> (a lot of
> tools are already there, I think, why does it cost millions? 
> [layman's musings]),
> but basically let the googles do the searches on "EoL + species  
> name" (I
> imagine the "educational" value for googlers who will learn there's  
> one central
> content website for each species! Sounds to me as if it fits in  
> Google's business
> interests!?). ... so, maybe, a concise "50 dollars" plan could also  
> attract
> sponsorships from outside?
> I imagine there should be tight links between the other major but more
> specialized web projects:
> - occurrence data needed for the global distribution map should be  
> provided
> to GBIF
> - names can be shared with uBio, GBIF's Electronic Catalogue of Names,
> Species2000, etc. (and projects like ZooBank could help with the  
> CODE-compliance
> check for names).
> - literature citations could be standardized if we had resolvable  
> served by another web project based in one of the world's major  
> libraries...
> - etc.
> In this way, EoL could play the role of a central showcase for the  
> wider
> audience displaying in a standard format our up-to-date knowledge,  
> combining more
> detailed informations from other projects.
> And when looking at the coverage of climate change issues in the  
> mass media,
> I believe we also need a better informed journalism on biodiversity  
> issues!
> Instead of communicating such vague estimates like "one species  
> gets extinct per
> day", let's try to get the real picture on species occurrences...  
> (thinking
> of the "Ecological Democracy" issue, etc.). In this context, EoL  
> could also
> become something like a global showcase for species monitoring,  
> e.g., with a
> dynamic up-to-date world gridmap for each species that is combined  
> with a little
> data table displaying the last year a species has been recorded in  
> each of the
> 1-degree grid cells... The tools are already there to do this, now  
> we must
> attract the content.
> Well... just dreams for a weekend?
> P.S.: I didn't see George Beccaloni's posting before writing mine...
> Best wishes,
> Wolfgang
> -------------------
> Wolfgang Lorenz
> Faunistics & Environmental Planning
> Hoermannstr. 4
> D-82327 Tutzing
> Germany
> _______________________________________________
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> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom

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

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