[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Tue Jun 16 22:47:45 CDT 2009


Peter de Vries wrote:

"Wouldn't something like this [LifeDesks] dramatically improve productivity and the accessibility of taxonomic revisions?"

Dramatically? That depends on what the slowest steps are in the taxonomic process. If those slow steps are collecting and documenting specimens, comparing specimens, looking for specimen characters to assist identification and classification, testing the usefulness of those characters, etc., then no, there won't be a dramatic improvement in productivity. If the slowest steps are going to the library to look up paper references, corresponding with colleagues and travelling to look at types, then the answer is 'Maybe'.

The major limiting factor in taxonomic productivity is the number of taxonomic workers, not how fast they work. This thread is really about the decline and fall of taxonomists. If we want a dramatic improvement in productivity, we need to greatly increase the number of taxonomic workers who aren't taxonomists. I've opened a discussion group on how this might be done:

http://groups.google.com.au/group/open-taxonomy-projects?hl=en

Please consider joining the group only if you want to work towards that goal. If you think it's a dumb idea, please argue your case on TAXACOM.
-- 
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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