[Taxacom] FW: Wikipedia classification

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Thu Jul 2 03:16:49 CDT 2009

Just a quick point on the last paragraph ...

There is nothing like a new product to attract customers - ask anyone in
the real world. And in the case of the 'covert aggregators' (e.g.
ZipCodeZoo, amongst others), who may add a link to the source web site
... thanks ... but ... taking traffic from the source has a detrimetal
effect on the profile of the source and thus the justification for
maintaining it.


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
dipteryx at freeler.nl
Sent: 02 July 2009 09:07
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] FW: Wikipedia classification

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). 


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