[Taxacom] GBIF: perpetuating probably defunct unpublished names
kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au
Sun May 23 05:24:13 CDT 2010
>- The data published through GBIF are not qualitatively transformed
from the collections where they originate.
But they do.
Look at the authorship of Scolytus scolytus -
In GBIF, EOL and Catalogue of Life 2007 the authorship is incorrectly listed a Wood and Bright 1992:
Catalogue of Life 2007: http://www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2007/show_species_details.php?record_id=4242138
However, in ITIS the authorship is corrected listed as (Fabricius, 1775).
The problem began when a mash up was made from the Electronic Catalogue of Curculionoidea website.
It correctly listed the authorship of Scolytus scolytus and cited the publication of Wood and Bright 1992 as the source. Somehow, the mash up dropped the authorship name and replaced it with the citation name. Then it spread ....
Now, almost every weevil that occurs in North America and was listed in the Wood and Bright 1992 publication has Wood and Bright as the author of the those species: Here is the EOL Scoltyus species list. Run your eye down the list to see how many species have Wood and Bright 1992 as their authorship: http://www.eol.org/pages/49702
I sent emails to GBIF and EOL without receiving a reply and so like hitting your head against a brick wall -- I felt better when I stopped.
I am beginning to wonder whether discrete taxon treatment websites are indeed better than those that attempt to do all.
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of David Remsen (GBIF)
Sent: Sunday, 23 May 2010 7:19 PM
To: Stephen Thorpe
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] GBIF: perpetuating probably defunct unpublished names
Asking publishers of collections and observation data to GBIF,
BIOCASE, the various taxon-oriented NETs, etc. to validate their names
is facilitated by accessible services that make such validation
processes possible. Currently, the source data required for this
is either entirely unavailable to these publishers or is scattered in
such a wide array of formats and locations that it's simply
impractical to build anything from them. What should the practice be
for someone who wants to taxonomically validate their collections data
prior to publishing their data via GBIF?
- The data published through GBIF are not qualitatively transformed
from the collections where they originate. GBIF provides
infrastructure, standards, capacity, and recommendations on how to
publish these data. Issues of quality and completeness, reside, for
the most part, with the original stewards of the data.
- Checking out and validating these data first (pre-publication) is a
great idea but it requires an engineered solution that allows an
arbitrary data publisher to validate against the equally-arbitrary
required source data. An ad-hoc approach simply won't scale or
- Wikispecies appears to be a web site for people to read, not a
standards-based service that integrates itself into distributed
validation workflows. If so, this impacts the re-usability of the
information you have added to it. If not, if someone can show me
how we can pass the entire monthly GBIF names index (> 5 million
distinct names) through wikispecies to get the useful semantic and
syntactic information that would improve the fitness of these data, I
would be happy to work on implementing this.
- Nothing is free and that includes wikispecies. It costs money to
maintain it's services and to ensure performance and stability. The
costs may not be visible nor at the scale of some of the initiatives
you cite, I really don't know. But there are costs. Wikispecies
seems to be free in the same way that data published through GBIF is
On May 22, 2010, at 8:04 AM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>> but they are still only indicative
> I agree absolutely with you (as always!), but that's probably not
> how they (i.e., the likes of GBIF, EOL, etc.) advertise themselves -
> if barrels of leaking oil per day are analogous to levels of
> uncertainty, they are still claiming only 5000! Do the "math":
> Wikispecies is "only indicative", but free, so if the "non-frees"
> are also only indicative, well ...
> From: Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com>
> To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: Sat, 22 May, 2010 5:48:51 PM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] GBIF: perpetuating probably defunct
> unpublished names
> hoping they read taxacom... just waiting for the funds transfer to
> come through... :)
> as a reasonably bioinfo savvy kind of person, I do not expect anything
> from a data aggregator, or a data provider, to be truthful, complete,
> reliable, precise or accurate. GBIF, EoL, ALA, AVH, Google, Bing,
> Wolfram Alpha, Guardian, New York Times, Fox News, hey, even
> WikiSpecies - they are all the same: indicative. OK, some might point
> and some may just wave in the general direction, but they are still
> only indicative.
> find a dataset, any dataset, and I am sure we will be able to find
> something to fault and something to argue about. It is such a
> demoralising waste of time when, with a bit of duct tape and fencing
> wire and a few chosen expletives we could just fix the damn thing...
> On Sat, May 22, 2010 at 2:40 PM, Stephen Thorpe
> <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
>> Jim: you should be BP's (Bigfoot-Print's) new PR guy! :)
>> perhaps the tone of my email came across a tad too strong, but I do
>> that in the rare cases where the likes of GBIF do have content on
>> pages, it isn't so unreasonable to expect it to have been
>> thoroughly checked
>> out and validated FIRST ...
>> From: Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com>
>> To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Sent: Sat, 22 May, 2010 4:29:14 PM
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] GBIF: perpetuating probably defunct
>> unpublished names
>> isn't finding, accounting for and correcting these sorts of things
>> what the business of nomenclature and taxonomy is all about? no harm
>> no foul?
>> it is probably a bit unreasonable to expect everyone to get
>> right every time, and it is no one person's (provider's)
>> responsibility - we are all on the same side, and we all try to
>> address the broken bits we see...
>> in our collection we work hard to avoid focussing fault. if
>> there's a
>> problem, it's everyone's problem, and everyone (which in reality
>> usually means someone!) gets to fix it... taxonomy is a bit like
>> that... :)
>> On Sat, May 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM, Stephen Thorpe
>> <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
>>> this isn't very helpful:
>>> at least my Wikispecies pages clearly indicate that they are
>>> they will probably never be published as the types were probably
>>> as such before Muona realised that Arisocephalus was a synonym of
>>> Agalba, so
>>> these species probably already have names
>>> perhaps GBIF should ask its data providers to verify that the
>>> names have
>>> been published???
>>> Taxacom Mailing List
>>> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either
>>> these methods:
>>> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
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>>> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
>> 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)
> 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)
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either
> of these methods:
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Or (2) a Google search specified as: site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/
> pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
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