[Taxacom] iSpecies with Wikipedia

Burkhalter, Roger J. rjb at ou.edu
Thu Mar 27 14:50:19 CDT 2008

I, for one, could really use a one-stop location for all of my classification needs. As a contributor of invertebrate paleontology data to distributed databases and user of these data sets, I find the disparity of the various databases maddening. When I am entering data that needs higher level classification, I often have several tabs open on my browser to different distributed databases (GBIF, PaleoPortal, the Paleobiology database, etc.) and/or web sites (wikispecies, Google scholar, etc.). One may be good for brachiopods, another for ostracodes, another for echinoderms. None are good or at least consistent from one group to another. Several have decades old data or incomplete higher level classifications. Mollusks are probably the worse when trying to resolve fossil and modern higher level classifications. I usually use Google scholar and whatever journals our library has to check frequency in recent usage and thus have a vague idea of consensus for taxa I know little about.

However, this method is probably contributing to the problem. A single place to look would be the solution. Once the EoL or whoever ends up with such a solution has a viable grasp on living critters, perhaps extending the list back into the fossil record would come next (especially for those with no living representatives).

Roger J. Burkhalter
Collections Manager, Invertebrate Paleontology
Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
University of Oklahoma

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