[Taxacom] ICZN procedure question

dipteryx at freeler.nl dipteryx at freeler.nl
Fri Nov 12 13:54:23 CST 2010

Van: Richard Pyle [mailto:deepreef at bishopmuseum.org]
Verzonden: vr 12-11-2010 20:08

> Fair enough.  But you have to understand, I know (and consider
> myself a friend of) Jim Croft. Indeed, I had just seen his 
> smiling face a few hours prior to my email post via a Skype 
> video call.  

I took that into account.
* * *

> Well, at present publication is on paper, and the focus very 
> much is on ensuring that all copies are produced 
> simultaneously (and uniformly) with a single moment of 
> publication. 

Yes, but you said, "A more traditional approach would be to
formulate requirements as to number of copies, where (and how)
these are to be deposited, and who is entitled to make such 
printed copies."

* * *

My contention is that, not only is this demonstrably *not* a 
traditional approach of the Codes, but also the (more elaborated)
discussions I've had over the years with various people (some 
archived on lists, some not) concerning the idea of making archival
paper backups of e-registered nomenclatual acts *did* involve
stipulations for things like number of copies, where (and how) 
they are to be deposited, and who is entitled to make such printed

So, your statement, "these [examples of paper-printed archive 
backups of e-registrations] are moving counter to the way 
the Codes now tend to organize things" is actually correct, 
but not for the reasons you gave.

It's correct because it is *not* traditional for the Codes to 
stipulate numbers of copies, where (and how) they are to be 
deposited, and who is entitled to make such printed copies; 

So there is no "8.6 ...  it must contain a statement that copies
(in the form in which it is published) have been deposited in at 
least 5 major publicly accessible libraries which are identified 
by name in the work itself." ?
* * *

but such stipulations *would* probably be included in proposals 
to the Code(s) in the examples you quoted.

These were pretty explicit in that each agency was to make its 
own (unique, un-uniform) copy.
* * *

> The very idea of producing paper copies on 
> demand, or piecemeal (as in the 'deleted' examples with each 
> archiving agency using its own computer, its own printer, its 
> own paper, etc) is pretty explicitly forbidden.

Yes, as it should be. But this has nothing to do with what I was 
talking about.

> Thus, the traditional approach would be to have only one 
> agency (the publisher?) producing all paper copies (thus 
> insuring uniform copies) and then distributing them. This 
> would be more expensive, and perhaps more cumbersome, but 
> inherently safer.

I don't think any of us are qualified to say what is 
"inherently safer". The big advantage of paper is the 
long history.  The big advantage of electronic is the nearly 
free global distribution of thousands or millions of copies 
(ultra-cheap ultra-reduncacy). We can postulate ad nauseum 
about which of these factors outweighs the other (indeed we
have already, and probably will continue to do so), but we 
won't really know the answer until another few centuries from

The method one knows is widely perceived as being safer 
(as exemplified by "better the devil you know"), and 
simultaneously produced paper copies are known to be identical
(for these purposes), while electronic copies are a big unknown
in this respect.
* * *

I'm advocating a compromise approach, to embrace e-published
works with the best insights available for long-term 
electronic archiving and built-in mechanisms for ensuring 
the content gets pushed forward across technology changes, 
but also establish a well-defined, well-thought-out 
paper-based backup mechanism .... "just in case".

> >From that perspective, the more immediate questions would
> be who would be allowed to produce paper copies (the 
> publisher, the author, any civic-minded person noticing an 
> unpapered e-publication?), with what quality, with a minimum 
> of how many copies? and to be deposited where and how?

Because I'm talking about paper-based archives of e-registrations 
(i.e., the specific bits of nomenclatural publications that require
more longevity than other scientific publications), and because 
anyone who proposed that such an e-registry should exist in only 
one location would surely have "gone off the deep end" (i.e., there 
will be multiple replicated and automatically synchronized copies 
of the e-registry across the planet), I would propose -- at least 
as a start -- that all (or some defined subset of) hosts of these
replicated copies of the e-registry generate
daily/weekly/monthly/annual/whatever printed copies using good
quality paper and ink/toner, and archived those paper copies in a reputable library.  The cost is not that great -- probably on par
with the cost of the electricity to run the server that hosts 
the e-registry (i.e., small enough to disappear within the normal operational costs of any institution).

I am not saying that is not an option, but it would be a much 
bigger step than the one I suggested. It may well be that 
the world is not ready for such a big step.
* * *

Even that would be more robust that what the Codes currently allow.

Yes, there is a somewhat worrying hole in the Codes. It has 
existed for a long time (with microfiches allowing for the 
option that somebody, somewhere would make a print run that 
would make the microfiched work available / effectively published), 
but it looks to be more acute with the advent of e-only 
publishing (anybody with an internet connection, anywhere, 
can run off fifty or so copies, and distribute these). It 
would probably be a good idea to plug the hole.


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