[Taxacom] Google, Wikipedia, and EOL

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Wed Sep 2 04:40:22 CDT 2009

> As Tony Rees pointed out http://markmail.org/message/wzxzuvvhcqpjq2xd
> in many ways it would be great to have a "killer app" that 
> combined the openness and flexibility of a wiki with features 
> of a database such as the ability to propagate changes down 
> the taxonomic hierarchy.

I think we're all in agreement on this point.  It's just that we have
different expectations about how to get there.  To a hammer, everything
looks like a nail.  So as a database nerd, I see tremendous potential in
starting with a rock-solid data model and architecture with complete
field-level audit trails, then layer on a mechanism for non-anonymous but
mostly wide-open editing that is easier to use than Wikipedia's (as it could
be with automated pick-lists, on-the-fly querying, and such), and at the
same time impose more rigorous structure.  To a Wikiphile, I suppose, the
problem that should be addressed first is the human-machine interface, then
fine-tune issues of interlinkage, auto-harvest, rigorously structured
content, etc. 

There's only one way to find out which approach will work: wait and see.


P.S. Stephen: I've been a practicing taxonomist for a couple of decades now.
My PhD advisor has named more species of fishes than any other taxonomist of
the past century or so (97% still regarded as valid, and most of the 3%
synonyms were sunk by him).  I work in a Museum, and spend a lot of time
interacting with other taxonomists; most with multiple decades of
experience.  I don't think a single one of them would agree that what the
ICZN Code "REALLY MEANS" is that the authority/date is part of the name.

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