[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Wed Jun 17 00:12:53 CDT 2009


>What solid evidence is there that the number of working taxonomists has
been increased by the availability of digital tools? >Or are you simply
hopeful that this will happen?
I am a firm believer in "if you build it, they will come"

Yes, there will be false starts and mistakes, but we can all learn along the
way.

The easy availability of information might attract new people and new
interest to taxonomy.

Either way, complaining has not appeared to improve funding so we need to
try a new approach.

A useful first step is to determine if there is a way to allow peer-reviewed
LifeDesks to be considered the same as a printed publication. Otherwise, the
very people that we would like to contribute will have no professional
reason to do so.

Respectfully,

- Pete

On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 11:42 PM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>wrote:

> Donat, your anecdotal evidence that people are attracted to certain
> projects is very interesting. However every review of taxonomy I have read
> in the past 15 years tells me that the number of working taxonomists is
> decreasing. What solid evidence is there that the number of working
> taxonomists has been increased by the availability of digital tools? Or are
> you simply hopeful that this will happen?
>
> And once attracted, how are new taxonomists going to make a living as
> professionals? Is the number of job openings for taxonomists increasing?
>
> Note that I am talking about taxonomy in the traditional sense: the
> discovery, documentation and classification of life. If you believe that
> taxonomy includes gathering up COI barcodes and building trees with them
> without careful study of the whole organisms, let alone formally naming and
> describing them, then we have another difference of opinion.
> --
> 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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Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
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