[Taxacom] iSpecies with Wikipedia

B.J.Tindall bti at dsmz.de
Thu Mar 27 07:45:36 CDT 2008

Hi Rich,

At 12:36 27.03.08, Richard Pyle wrote:

>I don't see why there can't be as many classifications as there are
>individuals/organizations willing to assert them.  It's my understanding
>that EoL will accommodate multiple classifications (via the "Union" layer in
>their data architecture), and I think this is the reality that
>forward-thinking taxonomic data management initiatives need to accommodate.

Many end users would like one answer.

> >From the content-provider side, there are a number of initiatives that
>assert their own "preferred" classification across many taxa (ITIS,
>Species2000, PESI, FishBase, etc., etc.); and each should present/expose
>those asserted classifications to the internet in a way that other data
>aggregators (EoL, GBIF, BioCASE, iSpecies, etc.) can harvest and index them

But what is that consensus based upon and what 
happens if the experts generally agree that "the 
preferred classification" proposed by these 
providers is misleading? Harvesting and indexing 
across multiple websites doesn't serve to correct 
such problems. It just multiplies them and gives 
the impression that the majority is correct and 
the minority (in this case the experts) is wrong!

> >From the user side, knowledgeable users should have the option of selecting
>their own preferred classifications (could be just one, or could be many
>that the user ranks). Less-knowledgeable users should be given a
>"meta-consensus" classification derived from available classifications,
>based on some sort of ranking system analogous to Google's PageRank (I think
>of this as the "I'm Feeling Lucky" classification).  It is my hope that EoL
>will head down such a path -- and perhaps provide the open-source software
>tools/APIs/standards & protocols for the rest of us (including Wikispecies?)
>to build upon.

I just wonder what the ratio is of the figures 
"knowledgeable users" to "less-knowledgeable 
users" to "average users who are looking to the 
web to provide an answer"? Is it 1:1:1, 100:10:1 or 1:10:100?

I share some of Mary Barkworth's reservations.

>Richard L. Pyle, PhD
>Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences
>   and Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology
>Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum
>1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
>Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
>email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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