[Taxacom] WoRMS fixes Kerguelenia ...

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Sep 2 18:27:51 CDT 2010

yes, and this raises a more general point: when citing web pages for 
biodiversity info, it is customary to put something like "date accessed: 3 Sep 
2010", but given that most websites/online databases don't actually make 
available the edit history, this has very little meaning. On the other hand, 
Wikispecies and Wikipedia do make the edit history available, and previous 
(dated) versions of the page can be called up and linked to directly, and you 
know exactly who did what when. For example, here are two links to (currently) 
the same Wikispecies page:
(1) http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Izatha_balanophora

right now, they look the same. BUT, (1) points to the current edit, which will 
change if someone edits it, whereas (2) will always point to what you see (i.e., 
the version which is at present the current version, but which may not be in 

I see this as a tremendous advantage of the Wiki system, whereas the WoRMS way 
is rather "half-arsed" (though this is in turn better than the usual "no-arsed") 


From: "Tony.Rees at csiro.au" <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
To: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz; gread at actrix.gen.nz
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Fri, 3 September, 2010 11:15:57 AM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] WoRMS fixes Kerguelenia ...

Stephen Thorpe wrote:

> yes, indeed (I've only just stopped doing cartwheels on the table!) [just
> a
> little sarcasm for a gloomy friday in Auckland] :)

Ah, but a glorious spring day here in Tassie...

Just to follow up on Geoff Read's point - one difference between a database with 
a web query interface / reporting facility, and a wiki, is that what is 
displayed as a result of web queries to the former is only as much as the 
custodians of the system may wish to expose, in other words there may well be 
(and usually is) additional information held at database level which is not 
included in web pages generated - all entirely at the direction of the 
application designer / maintainer (I know this because I do it, and no doubt it 
is true for other systems too).

Having said that, unlike a wiki, in fact most databases natively do *not* record 
a history of changes to content - much like a spreadsheet, if you change a value 
it is changed - so it is again up to the application designers to separately 
engineer a "change history" component as part of their software if this is 
desired. To the extent that WoRMS has done this, that is a credit to them.

Cheers - Tony

Tony Rees
Manager, Divisional Data Centre,
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,
GPO Box 1538,
Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
Ph: 0362 325318 (Int: +61 362 325318)
Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000)
e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/
Biodiversity informatics research activities: 
Personal info: 


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