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

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Tue Nov 16 13:39:39 CST 2010

Steve Gaimari wrote:

>PDF/A is the archiving standard NOW. It is the ISO standard NOW. It has
>been developed specifically for long-term archiving according to what we
>understand NOW about long-term archiving. The fonts/metadata are the
>standards NOW. We don't know what these standards will be in 200 years,
>and the only thing I am quite sure of (with the same surety as those
>suggesting that it will be) is that they will not be the same as today.
>This is not an objection to long-term archiving, which I think is a good
>idea. It is an objection to allowing such things to be an accepted
>medium as THE single primary source for a nomenclatural act.

What this argument appears to boil down to, then, is that you imagine 
that every single electronic document in every field of science - 
actually in every field of ANYTHING, from governments to banks to 
multimillion-dollar corporations - might be irretrievably lost to our 
descendants unless it is printed on paper. The implication is that no 
one, anywhere will bother to figure out a way to preseve electronic 
documents and migrate them to new standards when they are developed, 
because no one besides taxonomists ever reads anything published more 
than 100 years in the past? We are NOT the only people who want to 
read old documents. I imagine that virtually any academic anywhere in 
the world would be amazed at the claim that none of them ever need to 
examine old books or journals, and that taxonomists are unique in 
their requirements to have access to original publications.

If on the other hand, we assume that taxonomy is NOT unique in its 
requirements, then I honestly don't see the concern. If all of global 
society has its eggs in the same basket, we are not somehow going to 
be the ONLY discipline that loses *its* eggs.


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

More information about the Taxacom mailing list