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

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Thu Feb 11 23:17:58 CST 2010

This is a discussion we've had several times before on Taxacom. Obviously anyone looking at my websites and my own AFD contributions knows that I, too, have one foot in data-generating and another in data-archiving and -mobilising. I've also made it clear that I think Zoobank, that Richard has had so much to do with, is a fantastic idea.

Which has nothing to do with the 'milk comes in cartons' people currently getting generously funded and a lot of respectful attention from governments. Would either of these ALA jobs


suit a taxonomist? What about the many (no doubt competent and sincere) non-taxonomists, non-collectors and managers who attended last year's e-Biosphere tweetfest in London?

The division here isn't between pick-and-shovel people and pick-and-shovel-people-who-also-do-informatics. It's between the old world of biodiversity studies and the loudly self-promoting new world of shuffling around the information generated by those studies. That new world is doing a lot better in 2010 than the old one. It's taking the possibilities seen clearly by Richard and playing with them at great cost.

We've also argued on Taxacom whether the acronyms actually take money away from taxonomy, or whether they use new, self-promoted money (I think the latter). I'm not sure that matters. When ALA gets tens of millions for chewing over old data and taxonomists get a tiny proportion of that amount for getting new data, something is askew.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html

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