[Taxacom] HHDB: hemihomonyms

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Mon Jan 18 08:06:05 CST 2010

Dear Francisco,

I confess my heart sinks when I hear the phrase "user requirement  
survey". It smacks of treating users as passive, waiting for experts  
to create something they can use.

One thing which struck me in your "User requirements for the BHL- 
Europe portal of the BHL-Europe" http://planetposter.de/bhl/praha2009.htm 
  was the user requests that were dismissed as "out of scope", such as  
finding documents by country (i.e., geographical indexing). There  
seems little point in surveying user's for their requirements if the  
response is to dismiss them (having said that, I did find your  
evaluation to be interesting reading).

BHL's data (both images and metadata) are open, so people like me will  
not wait around for committees to survey "user requirements." Instead,  
we will get the data, clean it, and do stuff with it. If somebody in  
BHL-Europe "denies" the idea of user-contributed metadata, they are  
clearly out of touch with what is going on in the wider world (on so  
many levels).



On 18 Jan 2010, at 12:29, Francisco Welter-Schultes wrote:

> Roderic,
> I agree with you that a failure report function alone might not lead
> to substantially better metadata. BHL has recently implemented it, so
> we can see if it helps. I would appreciate some feedback. (And Heimo
> Rainer in Wien, Austria for the botanists).
> In the BHL-Europe consortium I have expressed my voice for a solution
> that non-librarians (users) would be enabled to correct metadata. As
> I said, this was denied. We will prepare a survey in February asking
> users for their needs. I can only recommend that anyone who thinks
> that users should be enabled to correct metadata, should express that
> in that survey.
> Corrections of metadata by users bear also some shortcomings.
>> In my
>> efforts to extract articles from BHL (http://biostor.org/ ) I've
>> come across numerous articles on insects that are full of the names
>> of host plants.
> Sometimes you will even read statements like: "at that locality we
> found genus X", and it is unclear whether a plant or an animal was
> meant!
> Thinking twice about it I think that defining works as purely
> botanical or zoological could cause more damage that it might help.
> In the ICZN Code there is a rule that a name which was not used after
> 1899 can be suppressed/declared a nomen oblitum (Art. 23.9). This
> means that it is important to record every source where such a name
> was just mentioned. As you said, a zoological name could be mentioned
> in a botanical work. Accompanying fauna in a habitat or so.
>> BHL content provides numerous challenges, but the notion that
>> devolving key tasks to librarians will help doesn't fill me with
>> confidence.
> I agree. Again: in February we are going to prepare a detailed user
> requirement survey. My recommendation to participate.
> Francisco
> (BHL-Europe and AnimalBase)
> University of Goettingen, Germany
> www.animalbase.org
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Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792
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