[Taxacom] WoRMS fixes Kerguelenia ...

Tony.Rees at csiro.au Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Thu Sep 2 18:43:22 CDT 2010

Fair point. A partial solution is provided by the "wayback machine" accessible via http://www.archive.org/ , but there are limitations to the depth and frequency to which they crawl the web (though again, sometimes better than nothing), although it seems not much archiving activity since 2008 - see for example http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.cmar.csiro.au/<http://web.archive.org/web/*/http:/www.cmar.csiro.au/> (my agency's home page through time), others seem similar... (no idea what is going on with the IA folks at this time)

Regards - Tony

From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
Sent: Friday, 3 September 2010 9:28 AM
To: Rees, Tony (CMAR, Hobart)
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] WoRMS fixes Kerguelenia ...

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
(2) http://species.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Izatha_balanophora&oldid=994241

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 future).

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<mailto:Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/
Biodiversity informatics research activities: http://www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre/biodiversity.htm
Personal info: http://www.fishbase.org/collaborators/collaboratorsummary.cfm?id=1566

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