[Taxacom] global names index gni as dead end?
r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Mon Mar 7 06:11:50 CST 2011
I think Donat has a point. Most name servers don't provide links to
underlying data, or to primary sources, such as the original
literature. Global Names Index links to contributing databases, which
themselves rarely link to literature. they may cite literature as text
strings, but don't provide links that enable the user to go directly
to that literature.
We seem to have moved from the first wave of name aggregators, such as
uBio, that harvested names and provided basic services, such as "this
looks like a name", and "these are the names in this block of text".
These are useful things.
Now we have projects, such as Global Names Index, that are
aggregations of aggregators. This would be fine, if they added value
in the process. But, as Donat discovered, it's not yet clear that they
do. In practise they add one more layer to getting to what we actually
want (information about what the name refers to).
What we have failed to provide are tools that link indexes of names to
the digitised literature in ways that people can actually use. This
may well be on the roadmap for GNA/GNI/GNUB (insert various G-based
acronyms here), but until people see visible progress I suspect most
will have a similar reaction to Donat's.
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
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University of Glasgow
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Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
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