[Taxacom] Occurrence data...

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Feb 18 19:20:47 CST 2011

taxonomic data created by taxonomists in advance of users has robust meaning

occurrence data compiled in advance of taxonomic revision has no robust meaning 

From: "Walker, Ken" <kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au>
To: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
Cc: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Sat, 19 February, 2011 2:06:29 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Occurrence data...

> the important thing is to have the data ready when someone, somewhere, wants it 
>for some purpose. I can't think of any other major human enterprise that 
>tolerates such vagueness in its aims.

How about taxonomy? When someone asks: "What is it?" Do we then begin to revise 
and describe to answer the question in perhaps 5 years? Taxonomy answers 
questions that are yet to be asked and like you Bob, many people have trouble 
placing a value on such a commodity.

How about museum and herbaria collections?  I cannot define the future use of 
every specimen in our collections and yet I go out and collect more specimens 
using taxpayer funds. How do I justify use of these funds unless society 
tolerates such vagueness.

Can you prepare a definitive list of users of your taxonomical outputs? How is 
your taxonomic output going to be used?

If not, then how do you "tolerates such vagueness in <your> aims."


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