[Taxacom] Sorry, but you are out-of-line

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat Nov 13 17:51:30 CST 2010

one small(?) issue that has't been addressed in this thread, I don't think, is 
that ANY publication using latin names for taxa has (potentially 
significant) nomenclatural content (i.e., misspellings, incorrect combinations, 
etc.), and, linked with this, you cannot simply extract the 
nomenclatural/descriptive content from a publication - the publication must be 
considered as a whole.

I do not support significant funding going towards extracting useless original 
descriptions from old literature, particularly since BHL already has lots of 
them in context with the whole publications ...

From: Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu>
To: TAXACOM at MAILMAN.NHM.KU.EDU; iczn-list at afriherp.org
Sent: Sun, 14 November, 2010 12:40:36 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Sorry, but you are out-of-line

>I spent many years on various international organizations and 
>committees. And while I frequently disagreed with my colleagues, I 
>never publically attacked their intelligence and merely accepted 
>that we had different paradigms or view points.
>I am sorry, but you owe Steve an apology.

I honestly was not attacking Don's, or Steve's, or anyone's 
intelligence, only saying they were failing to recognize the 
fundamental issue that *I* have been talking about: centralization. 
That centralization goes hand-in-hand with digitization is a 
*secondary* issue, and not *fundamental*. Again, the choice is not 
paper vs. digital, but non-centralized vs. centralized - and if we 
opt for centralized, then paper is no longer necessary. I am *trying* 
to steer the debate onto THAT topic, instead of it going astray yet 
again - like every time thus far - into the paper/digital debate.

If you've been reading my posts now and over the years, you may note 
that I have never advocated abandoning paper entirely *in the absence 
of a centralized digital archive*, nor defended the practice of 
maintaining personal digital archives (any privately-owned digital 
resource is *doomed* - digital is only better if it is NOT private). 
What I have advocated, and still believe in, is everything crucial to 
nomenclature being both digital *and* hard copy AND centralized, but 
unless WE take over exclusive control of publishing, the former is 
not up to us, and unless WE take exclusive control over archiving, 
then neither is the latter.

Is anyone here prepared to state that they are unwilling, under any 
circumstances, to support a centralized digital archive JUST LIKE 
GenBank (meaning perpetually funded, never obsolete, no loss of data, 

If you ARE willing to support it, then part of supporting that is 
accepting that there are going to be some things in that archive that 
have no paper copies, save what individuals OTHER than the publishers 
and authors might produce. I could live with that - because it'd be 
VASTLY superior to the present system, and losing hard copy versions 
of a small percentage of that total archive is a vanishingly small 
price to pay to have everything else permanently secure and 
universally accessible.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology        Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82


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