[Taxacom] global names index gni as dead end?

Roderic Page 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.



Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
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