[Taxacom] iSpecies with Wikipedia

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sun Mar 30 17:44:27 CDT 2008

> If we really want to progress with classifications, we need 
> to understand differences between them and try to resolve 
> them with scientific insights not voting systems, which might 
> depend as much on good sales figures (like peterson's field 
> guides) rather then scientific insights

I trust by now that everyone realizes what I'm talking about is not simply a
"voting system", so I won't go there. 

I don't see this as an argument about algorithms vs. smoke-filled rooms.  I
see this as an argument about the urgent need to "electronify" the source
information.  Most of this now exists as ink on paper, and neural
connections within human brains.  Both sets of information need to be
transcribed into standard, structured, electronic form if we ever want to
realize the true potential of the internet for solving taxonomy/biodiversity
needs.  Organizations like BHL and Plazi and others are making strides
towards transforming the ink-on-paper into electronic format.  Now the
"buzz" talk seems to be shifting towards a "killer app" that *helps* (rather
than encumbers or distracts) practicing taxonomists, in a way that allows
them to much more easily transcribe the information contained in their
cerebral neural connections into a format that can then be simulatneously
available as standardized, structured electronic content, and in a form that
can also be printed as ink on paper.

Enabling the electronic capture of these two bodies of (comparatively)
diffiult-to-access information resources -- without any net cost or
encumberance to practicing taxonomists -- is, in my mind, the key to moving
forward with "cybertaxonomy".


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