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

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Sep 30 00:07:22 CDT 2010


your multipede websites are excellent, and if everyone did suchlike for all 
other taxa, things would be if not ideal, then pretty darn close. But that ain't 
gonna happen. I do think you would have been better to put your multipede info 
on Wikispecies instead - perhaps(?) sacrificing some credit for the sake 
of greater flexibility and recognition that other people might also be able to 
make useful contributions to it, but what you have done is still superb. 
However, I still do see a need for a global synthesis of biodiversity info 
without waiting for a million more Bob's to contribute a piece of the jigsaw ...


From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Cc: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Thu, 30 September, 2010 5:24:21 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The role of ADBC (NSF national digitizationsol...

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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