[Taxacom] data quality vs. data security: a survey

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Thu Feb 11 19:11:09 CST 2010

I would be interested in readers opinions on this simple question:

taking the particular example of the genus Apteropanorpa, does the closed edit database AFD (http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/fauna/afd/taxa/Apteropanorpa/checklist#selected) give anyone anything useful that the corresponding Wikispecies page (http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Apteropanorpa) does not?

Note that the AFD info is 11 years out of date, but is seen by some as having somehow got "more secure" content.

My view is that the AFD info is either seriously misleading/wrong OR it is neither of those things but tells you nothing useful! It depends if it tells you when it was last updated (and I haven't checked, but I don't see anything obvious). If it doesn't, then the reasonable interpretation by a user would be that there is only one valid species of Apteropanorpa, which is wrong. If it does say that it was last updated in 1998 or something (was it even around then?), then it tells you something true, i.e., that in 1998 there was only one known (valid) species of Apteropanorpa, but that information seems to me to be of little or no practical use...

I am granting for the sake of argument that the AFD info is somehow "more secure" (closed edit), but the question is: would anyone have any good reason to use the AFD info over the Wikispecies info? Note that the question is NOT which would you prefer if both were kept equally up-to-date and reliable, but which would you prefer as things actually are ...

Comments welcome,


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