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

Stephen Gaimari SGaimari at cdfa.ca.gov
Sun Nov 14 14:29:30 CST 2010

I'm happy to go on the record to say centralization is not a bad thing.
I would love to see a centralized repository for taxonomic information -
one that is available digitally, etc. I doubt anyone would really say
having a centralized (and distributed) repository would be a bad thing.
However, it seems to be being taken some inappropriate steps further
regarding the e-only publication issue. That is where I have an
objection, and it is not due to my lack of vision or lack of
understanding or anything else. 

You continually bring up GenBank as the model. There are differences,
not the least of which is the relatively simple data structure. Also, I
don't believe that GenBank will continue in its current conformation
into perpetuity. They will upgrade their systems and migrate data and
continue for as long as molecular biology is a critical field of study -
I would say it will last a very very long time. But it will not be in a
stagnant, *original* format into perpetuity. That is not something
critical to molecular biology - access to the simple data is what is
critical. However, it IS critical to the nomenclatural aspects of
taxonomy - not just the simple data. Yes, there may be considerable time
when a purely digital archive for taxonomy exists, and there will be
continual upgrades to new technology for a while - maybe. But will
taxonomy have the money and resources that the field of molecular
biology has? Taxonomy sure hasn't demonstrated THAT, even with the
world-recognized crisis in biodiversity. So I don't think setting up a
system that will RELY on these resources into perpetuity is particularly
forward-thinking. There is where the GenBank analogy falls apart, in my

I would be perfectly happy to have a dual system, with a requirement of
publication on paper for nomenclaturally relevant works, even going so
far as requiring that a digital version be archived. I think digital
archiving is a good thing. But when we have transporter beams, food
replicators, and hyposprays, and all the taxonomic archives are no
longer what you envisioned them to be, our descendants will still have a
book to look at. 

Dr. Stephen D. Gaimari
Program Supervisor (Entomology)
Plant Pest Diagnostics Center
California Department of Food and Agriculture
3294 Meadowview Road
Sacramento, CA 95832, USA
Tel. 916-262-1131, Fax 916-262-1190
E-mail sgaimari at cdfa.ca.gov

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 3:41 PM
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
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82


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

More information about the Taxacom mailing list