[Taxacom] an uneasy relationship between taxonomy and wikipedia

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat Jul 10 19:59:33 CDT 2010

I have only just glanced at Rod's paperas yet, but it is a little disturbing 
that a text search for the term 'Wikispecies' turns up nothing. Wikipedia and 
Wikispecies are two very different parts of the same whole, so need to be 
considered separately for any comparisons. Currently, I am just beginning to 
find strategies for "splitting the load" between the two Wikis, with Wikispecies 
focussed on biodiversity and nomenclature, while Wikipedia focussed more on 
issues like distribution, evolutionary history, significance to humans, 
recognition, etc., etc. Currently, the biodiversity and nomenclatural info on 
Wikipedia is not as reliable as it is on Wikispecies (assuming, of course, that 
Wikispecies currently has info on that group)
Basically, I think Rod's paper (though, as I said, I haven't read it fully yet) 
is likely to be a bit premature ...

From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
To: agosti at amnh.org
Cc: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Sun, 11 July, 2010 12:45:09 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] an uneasy relationship between taxonomy and wikipedia


I really enjoyed Rod Page's paper (you don't need to view the slideshow) and I 
warmly agree with his point of view (surprise!). The prospect of ongoing 
taxonomic conflicts in Wikipedia is real, but I think relatively unimportant. As 
long as taxonomists include pointers to the primary literature, the great 
rivalries and disputes can be played out mainly off-Wikipedia.

One anecdote won't demonstrate a trend (and Rod's stats are only indicative), 
but I know this one well: my wife is the volunteer records officer at the local 
arboretum. She maintains a geospatial database of the planted trees and shrubs. 
Where does she go first to check names and classification? Wikipedia. Where does 
she go if she notes a name-usage conflict? IPNI. Where does she look first for 
more information about a plant, besides its name and classification? Wikipedia.

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
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570


Taxacom Mailing List
Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these 

(1) http://taxacom.markmail.org

Or (2) a Google search specified as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  
your search terms here


More information about the Taxacom mailing list