[Taxacom] Proposed ICZN amendments on electronic publishing

Curtis Clark jcclark-lists at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 10 21:01:31 CST 2008

On 2008-12-10 11:54, Jim Croft wrote:
> Making it cheap does not make it robust.

No, but keeping it expensive doesn't make it ubiquitous.

> One of the points I was trying to make was that the volume of data is
> or will be so huge that it will be impossible to verify it all at each
> technology migration point and glitches, once introduced may not be
> detected an will be propagated through future iterations. 

There's a lot of built-in verification in most file-system copy 
functions, although of course the person responsible for the copying can 
  choose "fail" or "abort" instead of "retry". And an advantage of XML 
is that random changes are likely to cause a file not to parse, which 
provides another way to detect errors after they are made, again of 
course if someone bothers. Bottom line: someone has to care for it to 
work, with either paper or bits.

> It was not
> perfect in the olden days and the equivalent were errors of
> translation and transcription - but the generation times were much
> much longer and there was always likely to be an 'original' somewhere
> to go back to.

And in fact that's another use of phylogenetic methodology: 
reconstructing "extinct" stem documents.

> As for the leadership, wisdom and vision of managerialist economic
> rationalism forcing libraries into discarding knowledge and the
> foundation soul of the planet, what can I say?

It's easy to bemoan, but I think it's important to understand the 
rationale: "Other libraries have copies, which our students and faculty 
can get through interlibrary loan, so we don't have to maintain ours." 
For an underfunded library at a public comprehensive university, the 
hard choices that have to be made often involve the most esoteric 
materials, and the people making the decisions are more informed by what 
they don't know than by what they do.

Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
Director, I&IT Web Development                   +1 909 979 6371
University Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona

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