[Taxacom] Species Pages - effort required

Mary Barkworth Mary at biology.usu.edu
Mon Feb 2 16:49:39 CST 2009

Charles asked how we can move things forward. Someone else noted that
getting recognition, let alone money, for writing species pages is, at
many institutions, impossible. 

One thing that I would like to see more of, and am trying to practice
myself, is talking to the folks who are being asked to contribute the
resource that we are looking for. [In my case, it has been trying to get
folks to check and add to information in BCI; in the end I have just
done it for some institutions - those whose data I need most].

Talk about what? Not how it benefits everyone else. How it will benefit
the individual? Just possibly, one of the items that some of these large
project could offer is workshops on how to build what they are already
doing. These should be at meetings your potential contributors go to,
which may not be the meetings that the person who wants the information
would normally go to.  Some might welcome a personal request to become

When talking, also listen. Find out what their need is so that you can
better explain how you can help them meet their need - and yours. 

Be patient. Realize that most of the people you are asking to engage
with you are very busy - but presumably are also very knowledgeable -
you would not be approaching them otherwise.

Find something to hit that won't hurt you (or it) when despite your best
efforts, nothing seems to be happening.   

Don't suggest that you can build the species pages by simply grabbing
work put on the Web without making sure that person providing it is
credited. It is hardly likely to persuade someone to spend their
valuable time providing you with the information you are hoping for. 

Don't expect miracles. Don't promise miracles unless you yourself will
be performing them. 

I am glad the Smithsonian is going to try and obtain real data on effort
required. I am glad they are able to attract volunteers. 

And I shall try to practice what I preach.  I recommend pillows for
hitting. I was going to say a tree but that would hurt me and did not
seem appropriate in a botanist. As a song I remember from a long time
ago said - Remember that a lettuce has a heart.


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