[Taxacom] A romp through an aggregator

David Remsen (GBIF) dremsen at gbif.org
Tue May 25 05:10:17 CDT 2010


I agree with your bottom-up philosophy in the sense that I would  
prefer to access the most up-to-date and accurate taxonomic  
information and I assume it exists in a myriad of smaller,  expert  
compilations.   However, if by  "top-down" you mean there is no merit  
in trying to come up with a set of agreements that allow these data to  
output in a consistent manner,  discoverable in a comprehensive  
manner, and accessed in as near-real time as possible, then I disagree.

How would you approach providing a more direct and consistent pipeline  
to the sort of data being discussed here in a fashion that scales and  
actually meets others requirements?       I'd be happy to promote  
something that makes access simpler and more accurate.   You said  
yourself you would like to support bottom up resources and hope people  
use them.   How do we ensure they can be discovered and used?    I'll  
start working on transposing wikispecies content into a format that  
facilitates better integration but is that the solution?   Looking at  
the sources http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Project_sources  it  
seems many of these are based on some of the very "aggregate" sources  
being criticised in this thread.

I understand that EoL made a mess of the  graueri mistake but why  
isn't it picked up in the SysMyr myriapod database or the Catalogue of  
Life?    How can others who are more detached from grass-roots  
navigate to the sources we need?

- David

On May 25, 2010, at 10:58 AM, Bob Mesibov wrote:

> Last year, in a paper published in ZooKeys, I made Atopogonus Carl,  
> 1926 a junior subjective synonym of Agathodesmus Silvestri, 1910.  
> The genus sits in Haplodesmidae, a family of Polydesmida, which is  
> an order of millipedes. There are 4 species - 2 described in  
> Atopogonus, 2 described in Agathodesmus.
> To my great surprise, EOL tells me that I missed a species:  
> Atopogonus graueri Attems, 1927 (http://www.eol.org/pages/10941510),  
> which is classified in EOL as Polydesmida: Haplodesmidae.
> Well, actually, I didn't miss it. Atopogonus graueri is the type  
> species of Atopogonus Attems, 1927, which Kraus in 1966 replaced  
> with Atopogestus because Atopogonus was preoccupied. A. graueri is  
> in a different millipede order, Spirostreptida. You can find both  
> genera in Nomenclator Zoologicus, and the replacement has been noted  
> in both of the principal Diplopoda checklists: a generic Nomenclator  
> published by Jeekel in 1971, and a class-wide classification  
> published by Hoffman in 1980.
> EOL also has a page for Atopogonus baccatus Carl, 1926: http://www.eol.org/pages/128930 
>  , so it looks like the new combination I published in ZooKeys  
> didn't catch on. Interestingly, 2 other of my 2009 species did. If  
> you search EOL for Agathodesmus, you'll find A. steeli and A. johnsi  
> listed. The first is separately listed as both Dalodesmidae and  
> Haplodesmidae (2 completely different families), and the second, a  
> new species I published in Haplodesmidae, is listed as Dalodesmidae,  
> with the note 'Taxon recognized by ZooKeys'.
> This is simply a mess. I believe that EOL picked up the A. graueri  
> mistake from COL, which got it from the SysMyr myriapod database (http://www.gbifev2.mwn.de/GloMyrIS/GloMyrIS_details.php?val_taxon=2046386 
> ). I have no idea why my taxonomic update in ZooKeys didn't get  
> integrated into EOL.
> On the other hand, if you type 'Atopogonus' into the Wikispecies  
> search box, you get directed to the Agathodesmus page, where my 4  
> 2009 species sit in Haplodesmidae, together with a citation for my  
> paper and other info. Thank you, Stephen Thorpe.
> An aggregator does its clients and taxonomy in general a huge  
> disservice by spreading confusion and misinformation. And no, I am  
> not going to offer to curate EOL or any other aggregator to help  
> them with 'data quality', or expand their content. Instead, I'm  
> going to continue to build and support bottom-up resources and hope  
> that people use them.
> -- 
> 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/mesibov.html
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