[Taxacom] iSpecies with Wikipedia

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Tue Mar 25 19:44:16 CDT 2008

In message <BAE27A1D-BF17-491D-AC15-0C716F8314F8 at bio.gla.ac.uk>, Roderic
Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk> writes

>On 25 Mar 2008, at 18:46, Andy Mabbett wrote:
>> I think that's an excellent move; though there are some bugs; and some
>> potential features you might add.
>> For instance, it works for both "Pica pica" and "magpie", and for
>> alba", but not "barn owl".
>Although I might not explicitly state it, I only ever intended
>iSpecies to hand bionomial names. It can return results for common
>names, but this more accidental than anything else. In the same way,  I
>don't check whether the search string is actually a scientific  name. I
>could do this via uBio, althouh it doesn't have all names (yet).

Fair enough - it might be worth mentioning that limitation if not
verifying that two words have been entered; or even widening the scope.


>> The image searches for a genus (e.g. "Pica") or common name (e.g.
>> "Hobby") are often mostly or all false-positives. You might like to
>> a Flickr image search, too.

>> You could also search for images on Bioimages:
>>         <http://www.bioimages.org.uk/>
>> which uses Google for as a search engine; for example::
>>         <http://tinyurl.com/34ue8k>
>As above, I only ever intended iSpecies to search for bionomials.
>I may add Flickr, but not Bioimages. I need APIs, and Bioimages
>doesn't have one, which is why I use Yahoo image search. IMHO this is
>the big obstacle to mashing up data -- the lack of web services.

Again; fair enough (but see my penultimate comment, below).

You could perhaps add a section for links to "third part sites" and
include Bioimages in that.

>> Other possible links would be to the relevant entry on The National
>> Biodiversity Network's Species Dictionary:

>> and WikiSpecies:

>Wikispecies is almost useless, and I don't want to make "blind  links".

How so? Do you think it is flawed, or just too incomplete?

>> Please use a DOCTYPE declaration (preferable HTML 4.01 STRICT), and
>> validate your HTML - watch out especially for unescaped ampersands.
>Validating Javascript-laden HTML is no fun, and not a priority right

Perhaps not, but if you don't serve valid HTML, you have no guarantee
whether, or how, browsers will deal with it - and it's easy to get
validity right as you build things, than to add it later.

The ampersand issue at least should be relatively trivial to fix.

>> I've mentioned the species microformat previously; it would be
>> appreciated if you could also use that in your pages. Again, I'm happy
>> to advise further.
>Not yet convinced these are useful.

Well, for one thing, they enable mash-ups without the need for an API,
solving your previous dilemma!

>I'm experimenting with hCard and  other formats in another context, but
>without applications that make  use of them there's not much point.

That's a chicken-and-egg situation! Besides ether is at least one
application . Operator (a Firefox extension) which makes use of

[Other points noted.]

Andy Mabbett
            Says  "NO! to compulsory UK ID Cards":  <http://www.no2id.net/>
            and:  "Free Our Data":  <http://www.freeourdata.org.uk>
                   (both also on Facebook)

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