[Taxacom] saturday morning fun
stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Nov 29 13:57:38 CST 2010
>This in contrast to the Wikipedia entry, which requires very little work on the
>part of the reader for him to be completely misinformed. Wikispecies is
>preferable, although it offers only little information, with a 25% rate of error
>(as compared to the source it was copied from), but at least it indicates its
>source, and it has selected a relevant source
and the biggest difference of all between the wikis and GBIF is that you, who
knows better in this particular, presumably plant, example, COULD have improved
the information when you visited it, but I bet you didn't ...
it seems highly hypocritical to me to complain about the data quality of
something that only works by people being prepared to make a contribution to it,
if you aren't prepared to make a contribution to it! Note also, that unlike
GBIF, nobody got paid to contribute the data on wiki, so it is a less serious
matter if it isn't quite as good as advertised ...
From: "dipteryx at freeler.nl" <dipteryx at freeler.nl>
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Mon, 29 November, 2010 9:46:03 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] saturday morning fun
Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Jim Croft
Verzonden: ma 29-11-2010 1:04
> To be fair, the only reason GBIF is 'feeding us shit' is
> because 'shit' is what we gave them.
Not at all sure about that. What has been playing through my
mind is the idea that a data aggregator is an agency which can
be characterized by "Data in, garbage out". It is a complete
mystery to me why GBIF uses something known to be so completely
worthless as the taxonomy of the Catalogue of Life; nothing good
can come of that ...
Like some other list-members, I tried a small test, for which I
selected a genus where it is known to be essential to be explicit
about the species concept used in order to be able to interpret
and handle data, in anything like a meaningful manner.
Using the GBIF data portal, the most noticeable thing is how much
work it is to use, before getting to any data. There is indeed a
significant degree of completely irrelevant material linked from
this entry (the wondrous ways of computers!), but this is easily
identifiable, so not much of an actual problem. There is no apparent
awareness of the species-concept issue, with more than one species
concept used happily side by side. So, a lot of work (and 'expert'
knowledge required), but basically usable. This in contrast to the
Wikipedia entry, which requires very little work on the part of the
reader for him to be completely misinformed. Wikispecies is preferable,
although it offers only little information, with a 25% rate of error
(as compared to the source it was copied from), but at least it
indicates its source, and it has selected a relevant source.
On the whole it proves that the casual user is best advised to just
use Google (which not only did turn up the relevant information but
quickly showed me a very nice site unknown to me): this is less work
and yields more useful results (a higher ratio of information/amount
-of-work) than trying one of the self-advertised high-profile sites
(obviously, the 'expert' does not need advice).
Paul van Rijckevorsel
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