s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Sep 16 19:50:29 CDT 2009
[I said] > To this end, money might be well spent on digitising more and more primary taxonomic literature, and making it free on the web, along with good
> images of taxa, etc. Do we really want a world in which the answer to everything is just one mouse click away?* I for one like tracking things down for myself ...
[Richard said] Hmmm....given a choice between:
A) heading across town to the University campus, finding parking (sheeyeah...as if....), gaining access to the rare book collection, and seeing (but not being allowed to photocopy) the original description of some species (been there, done that, many, many times); vs.
B) slightly moving my right wrist and twitching my right index finger to gain access to the exact same information (which I can store on my local
computer, in full resolution, so I can view any time I want); or maybe
C) debating the obvious on email lists....
....I think I'll go with "option B".
[reply] My apologies to Adolf, who wants to set contribution boundaries (cf. species boundaries), but, do you know what Rich? It is almost totally unbelievable, but I largely agree, even on this point! I was, I presume you realise, saying that digitising more and more primary taxonomic info is a GOOD thing, for precisely the reasons you give above! I too would much prefer a little wrist action, followed by a twitch!!! All I was saying was that it is better to have online access to what you need to answer your own question, than to have the ANSWER spoon fed to you at the click of a mouse, mainly because what you get will be AN answer, not THE answer. It will often be tainted by the subjective opinions and biases of others interpretations/preferred classifications. Which leads on to:
>Sure would be nice to do so by clicking a bunch of "confirm" buttons and/or "reject" buttons
Yes, but who is going to do the confirming and/or rejecting, and how is the result going to be decided - by "authority", by "consensus" ("consensus" by what group?) ...
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