[Taxacom] Sub-professionals

Phillip Sc. Boegh psboegh at snm.ku.dk
Thu Jun 18 11:33:12 CDT 2009

Hi Taxacom's
> The article by Boegh is disconcerting. 
Mr. Zander came up with quite interesting issues (inside a flame) ;-)
First to possible downsides and last to the intentions:

I admit there is a risk that when some get certifications, all 
officially workers doing taxonomy may be expected to get one.
Eg. the risk is that all restaurants will demand certificates of the 
deliver' of fungus and other food. It is the fact many places - and 
honestly, most of us feel safe, when it is so. It is not to the benefit 
when untrained personnel are stepping in with errors:
> Sure we are losing taxonomists and sure untrained personnel are stepping in. On the other hand, Poison Control centers have acceptable (to them) experts in the community on call. Governments have acceptable (to them) experts in environmental consulting firms. ... Do we need a Suggestion Police to prevent well-meaning people from committing similar suggestions in public?
No, more people should decide their projects and debating taxonomy in 
all levels - thats why I encourage taxonomists to consider Open Source 
Taxonomy (*http://tinyurl.com/nrdh6k)*
> Yes, taxonomy needs to be treated seriously, and expertise cherished by
> Society. Certification by a non-academic institution seems likely to
> increase the numbers of bad taxonomists, particularly those without
> college degrees. 
Such certification system is used among divers, and many small tests 
(like check-marks in the certification license) is needed to be the 
certified diver in the beginner level (scuba diver).
> I know many excellent amateur plant identifiers. Will all these be certifiable? To do more than identify plants? 
If they like!
> Exactly what in addition to identifying plants?
For one level - it could be all you need! But I suggest that certain 
rules of moving around in the nature could be obligatory, as well.
> My wife says, "Is this the start of a guild that you must belong to in
> order to get a job? We need a combination of many synergistic
> facilities, in personnel and information, a culture of systematics."
For strictly taxonomic fields it may be needed to get some jobs. But 
what your wife really ask: Is it a junta to decide if you are qualified? 
That means: the right people must certify! And who to choose could be 
decided by the community: Is one 'examiner' need to be 
career-taxonomists together with a non-career taxonomist? And is it 
needed in all levels? Good questions! Lets get constructive suggestions!
My intention of http://www.wikigenes.org/e/art/e/32.html is to help:
1. (unrecognized) experts to get better options such as access to 
university libraries and collecting permits when they got their certificate.
2. new interested people to learn in a structured manner and reach 
manageable taxonomic goals. None are all-round experts.
3. get taxonomy back into the education system - even if we only show it 
by examples.
4. modernize the feeling of taxonomy, where learning traditional 
taxonomy using physical specimens is combined with virtual self-training.
5. taxonomy to be wider distributed
6. important tasks to be certified - to take taxonomy serious as it 
should (vf. the restaurants above).

Best regards

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob Mesibov [mailto:mesibov at southcom.com.au] 
> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 7:22 PM
> To: Richard Zander
> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; psboegh at snm.ku.dk
> Subject: Sub-professionals
> Please look at this article on certifying taxonomic workers:
> http://www.wikigenes.org/e/art/e/32.html

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