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

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Fri Feb 12 07:28:45 CST 2010

From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
Sent: Friday, February 12, 2010 8:49 AM

> Individually, things like BHL, IPNI, Index Fungorum, LPSN, ZooBank, NCBI,
> BOLD, and many, many, many others provide wonderful tools for accessing
> taxonomic information MUCH more easily than even a decade ago.  But what
> is REALLY exciting is the movement toward INTEGRATION of all of these
> initiatives -- a classic example of the whole representing far more than
> the sum of its parts.  Through the combined efforts of the standards body
> (TDWG), and the aggregators you seem to enjoy disparaging (GBIF, CoL, EOL,
> ALA, etc.), this INTEGRATION is beginning to happen.

I do see a movement toward integration among bottom-up databases (and other
taxonomic resources), but it happens at that level, not at a higher level.

There are indeed many data aggregators, but these appear to be playing a
separate game of their own. I cannot say I am very familiar with, say, CoL,
as every time I visit it, I recoil aghast, and go off towards a place that
does have information. There may be people who are interested in "a single
coherent catalogue with a single hierarchical classification", but I cannot
imagine who these may be or what the interest could be, especially as the
"single hierarchical classification" deviates so strongly from contemporary
thought. I suppose some people prefer firm, definite answers above actual

I would be willing to bet that the integration among bottom-up taxonomic
resources will sooner or later (probably sooner) reach a point where the
whole idea of a separate data-aggregator becomes ludicrous. Maybe if
EOL follows up on its promise to include multiple classifications, which
can then be travelled (I see no sign of this happening: all I see is the
single, slightly weird, system of plant classification), or if it succeeds
in attracting genuine content in some volume, it may gain real added value.
But it looks like a big IF to me.


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