[Taxacom] Wikipedia classification

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Mon Jul 6 05:59:42 CDT 2009

Rod Page wrote:

"In other words, let Wikipedia deal with taxonomic concepts, and have a separate wiki for names.
Thoughts? "

A fusion of Wikispecies and Wikipedia would amount to <irony>an encyclopedia of life</irony>, and could most easily be built by linking non-nomenclatural content to a Wikispecies-type framework. But the latter, as Tony Rees has pointed out, needs to be built as a database, not an ensemble of text pages.

An alternative might be a search engine which searches only selected online materials: the most authoritative names databases, the best image galleries, the best literature archives and specialists' blogs and hobby-sites. This sounds suspiciously like the librarian's time-honoured approach: the 'guide to sources'. In fact, if you Google 'internet resources biodiversity', you turn up a suprising number of hyperlinked guides produced by university librarians for their respective clients.

Fusion (above) is top-down, the guide (below) builds on bottom-up resources. If there were enough of the latter, top-down work could be restricted to nomenclatural projects like ZooBank, which has the potential to be not only the authoritative names+concept resource for most life on Earth, but also the wise and knowing filter through which any new zoological names have to pass.

All very busy and unstable in 2009... IMHO (which Taxacomers must be tired of hearing by now) the best investment would be in bottom-up resources built by specialist/non-specialist Web-based collaborations.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html

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