[Taxacom] global names index gni as dead end?

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Mon Mar 7 06:21:08 CST 2011

"What we have failed to provide are tools that link indexes of names to the digitised literature in ways that people can actually use"

a rather sweeping statement Rod ... :-) ...; not the case for mycologist - of the c. 450,000 names in Index Fungorum, 66,813 have direct links to the protologue (where the name was first established / effectively published) and 'we' are adding more every day.

but I agree with you overall sentiment (no links from IF to BHL content yet ...)


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Roderic Page
Sent: 07 March 2011 12:12
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] global names index gni as dead end?

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
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792
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