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

Burkhalter, Roger J. rjb at ou.edu
Fri Feb 12 08:56:11 CST 2010

I usually lurk, but I have to comment here...

-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 many levels involved and the "bottom" is the sub-basement, or lower. I make available data to one source, Paleoportal, which is in turn harvested by The Paleobiology Database, which is in turn harvested by GBIF, and on and on.

- (snip) 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

In the collection I manage, I have over a million specimens, most identified by a card with the specimen. This card has a Genus and species, locality, sometimes collector and date, most do not. These have had to be classified at a higher level to be of much use and to share the information with the scientific community. I would love to have had a comprehensive data source, base-line hierarchical classification to start from instead of pouring over (usually) decades old literature and hand-imputing classifications for tens of thousands of genera, nearly all extinct. Many of the workers on even major groups of animals have also become endangered or gone extinct. For many groups, what I find is what I have. Attempts to reconcile 40 or 50 year old manuscripts with current understanding of say bryozoans doesn't get very far when the families I am looking at became extinct 400 million years ago. I sometimes think a cf. or aff. is appropriate.



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