[Taxacom] article on taxonomy

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Fri Feb 26 23:23:29 CST 2010

Hi, Rich.

Just before you go out diving... You underestimate yourself if you don't think you've been one of the most consistent and passionate champions of 'biodiversity informatics' on this list, which is why I named you - to refer to those earlier posts of yours which argued for a well-organised, universally available taxonomic data infrastructure as an expediter of discovery.

That is *not* the same as using digital tools to make taxonomy more efficient. I've been posting here about the usefulness of GIS and other spatial tools for years, and my laptop - just like yours - is loaded with records databases, GIS and image files. How you can confuse that hands-on digitalisation of taxonomy with the work of the acronyms (see dozens of recent Taxacom posts, and Boero's article) which has spent so much time data-shuffling is beyond me. On the one hand we have digital tools that can make hands-on work more efficient for taxonomists who can afford them, and on the other we have gigantic, multi-million dollar projects whose output is - what? Flawed locality records? Blank species pages? I wrote ' projects which endlessly catalogue and reformat what's already known in taxonomy' and I meant just that. What kind of return on investment am I going to get from EoL, Rich? Taxonomic work *creates content* for aggregators. It's after the fact of doing the taxonomy.
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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