[Taxacom] global species lists and taxonomy ( was Re: Draft Checklist ...)

Karen Cranston karen.cranston at gmail.com
Thu Aug 29 06:18:15 CDT 2013

It is not too hard to implement this type of system. Both IPNI and Open
Tree of Life are currently implementing a relatively new graph database
model (database called neo4j) to load and store multiple hierarchies in the
same data structure. Then, you can traverse the graph (which contains all
of the nodes and edges, and therefore all of the conflict) in various ways
in order to summarize / resolve conflicts / find interesting patterns. You
could use algorithmic and / or human-curated approaches to annotate or
resolve parts of the hierarchy, while still keeping all of the information
from the sources. Visualization libraries like d3 make it easy to create
images or interactive tools to explore the data in the graph.

On Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 7:03 AM, Erik Rijkers <er at xs4all.nl> wrote:

> On Thu, August 29, 2013 12:31, Fred Schueler wrote:
> >
> > Maybe we want to take a lesson from the physicists' ideas of infinite
> > parallel universes, and program systems where all published
> > classifications are represented, but with some sort of combined voting
> > or weighting by the recency of publication, and wiki-style comments and
> > discussion, to show users which classifications are more currently
> > approved and used.
> >
> hear, hear!
> IMHO, this is the only possible way to get usefully stable global lists.
> It amounts to the realisation that the classification business is
> producing opinions (however obnoxious this may sound to
> the taxonomist).
> So databases should amass these opinions with plenty factual detail but
> without implicitly endowing any
> classification-opinion with the distinction of being "fact".
> It would seem this obvious way of doing taxonomical databases is not too
> hard to implement but I have never seen it done ,
> or even acknowledged as necessary.
> Erikjan Rijkers
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karen.cranston at gmail.com

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