[Taxacom] e-only from Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Pat LaFollette pat at lafollette.com
Tue Feb 9 17:52:08 CST 2010

At 01:25 PM 2/9/2010, Geoff Read wrote:
>If you can be bothered - this time with a subject line (Yes, I read
>somewhere and compose somewhere else).  Sorry.
I, too, failed to note that lack of subject, so will repost to keep 
the thread together.

At 11:32 AM 2/9/2010, Geoff Read wrote:

>On Pat LaFollette's "no form of electronic record is accepted as permanent
>by governments". Here in New Zealand all land ownership transactions and
>registrations are electronic only. It's enforced in statute. You can't get
>much more long-term legally or more serious than matters of property
>ownership. Boy, are we in trouble if the e-archives (hopefully multiple)
>ever fall over. But everyone has printouts so that's alright then.

Dear Geoff,

In the U. S., many jurisdictions have, to improve access and ease of 
use, created electronic databases for their land surveys and property 
ownership records; some are accessible via the Internet.  But the 
physical paper records are still warehoused somewhere and represent 
the ultimate legal record.

In New Zealand, what became of the property subdivision maps and 
registered deeds once they were digitized for the electronic-only 
record?  How are new deeds recorded? Is there a system for digital 
signatures and so forth to replace the traditional notarized 
signatures and official seals? A few years back, I worked at the U. 
S. Patent Office on a project to convert the application and review 
process to digital. (The final patents would be published as usual). 
To use digital signatures required Congressional approval but the 
technology and specifications kept changing faster than Congress could act.

As for digital taxonomic literature, in the absence of some 
governmental action mandating funds in perpetuity for the continuous 
maintenance of the electronic records, I think it would be 
considerably less secure than New Zealand's land records.  At LACM, 
the library is closed for seismic retrofitting, the books boxed and 
warehoused, and there is no librarian.  Yet when the construction is 
completed, a new librarian hired, and the books dusted off and put 
back on the shelves, I expect they will be in perfect working order.


Patrick I LaFollette
Research Associate in Malacology
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
pat at lafollette.com 

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