[Taxacom] Obscure web site

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Fri Aug 17 10:28:47 CDT 2012

Interesting thread here. Another problem with digital legacy is email.
Will the history of science slam to a halt when it comes to 1990? This
is when, I think, people stopped keeping carbon copies of their
correspondence and putting snail mail of letters they got into manila

I've tried to keep copies of my correspondence but it is just too
tedious to save an email as a text file with info on who it was sent to.

If there were software that allowed one to archive an email (coming or
going) by pressing an "Archive this" key or icon, this would be a boon
to the history of science. Saving with xml formats might help data
mining. I think this is an important thing, because just think . . .
what historian is going to study correspondence between zoologists or
botanists or any other scientist between 1990 and 2013? How?

The opportunity is there to create software to sell to institutions and
individuals a way to archive their email. There are certainly
institutions that will accept such archives, e.g. the Hunt Botanical
Institute in Pittsburgh for botany.

Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA  
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site:
UPS and FedExpr -  MBG, 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis 63110 USA

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of John Grehan
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2012 10:15 AM
To: Dr Brian Taylor
Cc: taxacom
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Obscure web site


The web is definitely and blessing and a curse. The long term viability
the effort seems to remain unresolved, even the scratchpad option has
limited operative potential. In a way I see my website as a sort of book
without going to the point of producing a book. A book may represent a
'final' product upon its completion but at least it remains accessible
that point on whereas a web site may be continuously evolving, but from
point that it is no longer supportable its content will effectively die
it's value, even if the content continues to be accessible in some
no longer has that currency that even a book may continue to generate.

They way I look at this is that as long as I am alive I may be able to
cover the cost and at least I am in control of the situation and not
subject to arbitrary institutional decisions (its certainly an irony
that a
supposedly science institution did not appear to value the science of
ant site). In my case I provided my web site information to a couple of
other individuals with the instruction that they could continue,
restructure, or disassemble the site as they see fit upon my future
or loss of functionality. I have decided not to worry overmuch about the
future of the site as I do not even really understand why I
bother maintaining a site anyway. I suppose its is a compulsion of some
sort to affect the present, but the real irony is that once we are no
longer of this earth everything falls into the hands of those to come.

John Grehan

On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 3:13 AM, Dr Brian Taylor <
dr.brian.taylor at ntlworld.com> wrote:

> Dear John,
> Your news raises, perhaps, the apparently neglected question of legacy
> web sites. Whilst institutions devote resources, arguably inadequate,
> the
> maintenance of libraries and so preserve the legacy of the printed
> there seems little evidence that electronic media are regarded as
worthy of
> support let alone maintenance.
> At the beginning of this year and without any warning to me, the AMNH
> down my website on the ants of Africa.  Originally fortunately, as an
> earlier hosting group had closed due to retirement of the group leader
> transfer of the group to another institution, my site had been hosted
> the
> AMNH under the umbrella of Antbase.org for several years.  Due to
> concern over copyright content the AMNH shut Antbase and so shut my
> website.
> No such concerns had been expressed over my site but an appeal to them
> keep the site open with supporting evidence as to its wide useage fell
> deaf ears.  Whilst I could do what you appear to have done and pay my
> personal ISP a monthly fee for storage space that does not answer the
> legacy
> factor, if and when I become unable to keep a personal space open.
> With foresight I had requested the UK Web Archive to include my sites
> on the Ants of Egypt remains unaffected) in its national archive.
Thus the
> pre-2012 contents remain preserved but I cannot update that content.
> The archived content can be accessed at
> rg/ants/africa/ for those who wonder at the merit of my concern.
> Regards,
> Brian Taylor
> On 09/08/2012 05:07, "John Grehan" <calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:
> > For those few that may be interested, my panbiogeography, human
> evolution,
> > and ghost moth web pages are now resurrected at
> >
> > Due to an unfortunate trend in the US (but not limited to,
apparently) I
> > lost my institutional resources and had to reestablish my web site
> these
> > topics. To date the panbiogeographic and human evolution pages are
> > only cursory, but hopefully time will allow for their future
> > Since few care about the content I wonder why I bother. Must have
> something
> > to do with my ego. Or something.
> >
> > John Grehan
> > _______________________________________________
> >
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> >
> > The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either
> these
> > methods:
> >
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> >
> > (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
> > your search terms here

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