[Taxacom] The role of ADBC (NSF national digitizationsol...

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Wed Sep 29 23:24:21 CDT 2010


Stephen Thorpe wrote:

"it is about making information, even highly technical information, available, and not under the control of a few people to hold it to ransom ... 
Once again, you betray your dislike and disinterest for comprehensive syntheses of biodiversity information, seemingly being of the opinion that all we need is an expert for each and every taxon and all is sweet."

'Dislike and disinterest' is mild; in private I use much stronger language. As for the first quoted line, above, you only have to look at my two multipede websites to see how strongly I agree.

Wikispecies doesn't liberate technical information from the control of a cabal of taxon experts. It directs attention to the constant flow of technical information that experts are mining, taxon by taxon, from a mountain of ignorance. We do need an expert for each and every taxon. Where you misunderstand me is that you think I'm saying that's sufficient as well as necessary ('all we need...'). It isn't sufficient, but there are other and better ways for taxonomists to apply their knowledge for widespread benefit than to simplify it for databases.

Re-read what the former EOL head James Edwards said about taxonomists in 2007: "We have not given enough thought to the people who provide the information on which the Encyclopedia of Life is built. We are looking into ways to keep that community going." So thoughtful of him. But there will still be taxon experts long after EOL is archived and forgotten.
-- 
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
03 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570




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