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

Don.Colless at csiro.au Don.Colless at csiro.au
Sat Nov 13 21:20:03 CST 2010

Please understand that I was NOT attacking the idea of centralisation of data, etc. Just the idea that electronic storage is completely safe and permanent, which I believe is not the case. I also believe that complete centralisation needs distributed backup, as with literature. I can read Chaucer's poems ad lib. today. I should hope that GENBANK will be around, too, uncorrupted, in 600 years time; but!  

The analogy with money under the mattress was badly drawn, too. I used the example of my own personally stored data as just that, an example of the difficulties in electronic storage. It would be nice to believe that things are better these days.

Donald H. Colless
CSIRO Div of Ecosystem Sciences
GPO Box 1700
Canberra 2601
don.colless at csiro.au
tuz li munz est miens envirun
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega [dyanega at ucr.edu]
Sent: 14 November 2010 10:40
To: TAXACOM at MAILMAN.NHM.KU.EDU; iczn-list at afriherp.org
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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