[Taxacom] The role of ADBC (NSF nationaldigitizationsolicitation) in the larger digitization context:a beginning, not the end

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Thu Sep 30 09:40:17 CDT 2010

> Properly managed collections are the base of 'properly done revisions'.
> really? I would have thought that properly done revisions are the basis for
> 'properly managed collections' ...
Both are important for each other.  You can't do a revision if you
don't even know there might be material present.  For example, it
turns out that a lot of Michael Tuomey's collections are still at the
University of Alabama, despite the fact that the Union army burned
down the campus not too long after Tuomey's death.  However, there's
little data and only a little is catalogued; most people who might be
interested in the material assume it was lost.  But cataloguing
requires some degree of familiarity with the organisms in question.
The feedback between the two is part of why taxonomists don't need to
worry about running out of things to work on.

The fundamental problem is that there is typically little support for
either part of this work.  Unless someone actually employs a
taxonomist, he or she can't dedicate much time to cataloguing or to
revising.  Grants to support visits to collections to work on a fauna
or flora are nice, but one must be able to pay the bills, eat, etc.
when not visiting a collection, and it's hard to apply for a grant
unless one already has a position at a recognized institution.

Dr. David Campbell
The Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca NY 14850

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