[Taxacom] FW: Wikipedia classification

dipteryx at freeler.nl dipteryx at freeler.nl
Thu Jul 2 03:06:59 CDT 2009

Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Bob Mesibov
Verzonden: do 2-7-2009 8:20

It sounds like there's agreement in this discussion and Rod Page's
blog that Wikipedia/Wikispecies is emerging as a very useful
taxonomic resource, that it's getting better, and that it has 
structural and administrative problems - top among these being 
rigidity of format and variable quality of expertise.

It may sound like that, but it is not the case. Wikipedia/Wikispecies
may be moderately useful for popular groups and for newly published
matters, but so far its problems are bigger than its merits. The 
database mentality is very strong in (English) Wikipedia and
ZipcodeZoo; accuracy and realism are rare enough (although it is 
a lot better once one gets away from the English Wikipedia, which
is why there is more hope for Wikispecies).

In the mean time professional sites are growing at a very respectable rate; I am always pleasantly surprised when I visit the USDA-sites,
and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website keeps improving (almost
justifying the awe in which it is widely held on the www).
* * *

We get back to a question raised in earlier TAXACOM discussions: who will use which online resources, and for what purposes?

I don't think this question has been asked often enough by the top-down compilers/developers of online biodiversity resources. Many people seem to think that information is information, and that the more you put up on the Web, and the more different ways the information can be shared and linked, the better. 

This often results in a database-orientation, copying data helter-skelter and let-the-devil-catch-the-reader (that is, copying 
good data from a good database and converting it to create a flawed, 
or misleading, 'new' entry). 


More information about the Taxacom mailing list