[Taxacom] on the indicative nature of of compilations and aggregations of data

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat May 22 22:27:37 CDT 2010

Jim is obviously a guy with time on his hands! 

Even a stopped clock is bang on 100% accurate twice a day!

Meanings of words in natural languages have a whole category of problems, which makes the quote about dictionaries a good one, but biodiversity informatics isn't quite like that. My point, to reiterate, was that if the results of expensive bioinformatics initiatives are in the end no less indicative than say Wikispecies, then what exactly is it about them that justifies their cost? Seems to me that they paint a pretty picture of themselves as being solid, reliable information validated by the experts, but in fact often are little more than an automated harvest of unverified information from other sources. It also seems to me that many scientists just don't get the Wiki idea of referenced compilations of published primary scientific research, something which can be done just as effectively by a non-scientist (perhaps even more effectively?) Seems to me that there are just two sensible alternatives:
(1) use Wikispecies but verify the information before you rely on it; or
(2) use a closed source database which ONLY contains information that heas genuinely been thoroughly verified and peer reviewed by a suitable "panel of experts"


From: Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Cc: TaxaCom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Sun, 23 May, 2010 3:09:57 PM
Subject: on the indicative nature of of compilations and aggregations of data


"Dictionaries are like watches: the worst is better than none, and the
best cannot be expected to go quite true."
- Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)


Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point
of doubtful sanity.'
- Robert Frost, poet (1874-1963)


More information about the Taxacom mailing list