[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Cynthia Parr parrc at si.edu
Wed Jun 17 13:02:55 CDT 2009

I've been following this thread and finally feel compelled to step in.

I agree with Donat that we need to think more generally than LifeDesks and
also with Pete that we need to think about how such a platform might
accelerate publishing new descriptions, or at least make the process of
digitizing and sharing knowledge more efficient. However, before we jump to
linked data as a format, I want to take a step back and raise the question
of the intermediate, practical steps of getting there. Some options:

1. Tools like LifeDesks could have robust modules for conducting peer review
2. They could allow authors to easily export a LifeDesk (or ScratchPad,
etc.) species page as a manuscript for submission to a journal. The journal
conducts the peer review process; the published paper then has the kind of
clout recognized by promotions committees (and many peers). The information
is already on the LifeDesk so is already freely available, and could be tied
by the author to the final reference. OR
3. Authors could just archive print or digital versions of their digital
species description in whatever way their code requires. Reviews could
accumulate on the digital versions post-publication. OR
4. Authors could prepare their manuscripts as they do now, and publishers or
EOL or someone could provide the service to database and semanticize them
before or after publication.

No reason to think we couldn't pursue all of these but it would help in
prioritizing to know which route most practitioners might actually be
willing to use. Number 2 seems easiest and most immediate to me, and we can
add the semantics into the tool. 1 might come down the road. 4 is closest to
what we're trying to do now and actually might be the hardest to scale up. 3
might be the most modern, most long term solution. But those are my quick

Feedback will help us take LifeDesks and ScratchPads in a productive


Cynthia Sims Parr
Director of the Species Pages Group
Encyclopedia of Life http://www.eol.org
Office: 202.633.8730
Fax: 202.633.8742
parrc at si.edu

Mailing address:
National Museum of Natural History
P.O. Box 37012
MRC 106
Washington, DC 20013-7012

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