[Taxacom] BioNames

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sun Jun 2 04:45:56 CDT 2013

Hi, Rod.

Many thanks for your explanation. I understand the reason for building BioNames, and like you I think it would be cool to link names with original publications and other data.

What I'm finding hard to understand is why you're attempting to do this globally for all [animal] names, when you already know that aggregated name sources and author spellings, for example, can be incomplete or messy or just plain wrong. The resulting spaghetti of links is going to need a lot of fixing.

I admire your willingness to deal with the few problems I and other Taxacomers have already identified, but is that a useful strategy <cliche>moving forward</cliche>? How much time are you prepared to spend sorting out all the omissions and errors that BioName users might come across? Are you hoping that 'the crowd' will find any problems, and dutifully and diligently report them to you, which is the absurd expectation of some aggregators?

Again, I'm not saying that the linking is a silly idea, it's a good idea. But shouldn't it be done from the start by taxonomic specialists, the way Antbase has been built, to minimise mistakes?

'Bottom-up' is slow and leaves taxon gaps because there aren't the specialists, or because those specialists aren't building online resources. 'Top-down' is fast but leaves data gaps and disappointingly high levels of error. The (incomplete) list of projects in Ricardo's post suggests to me that speed has been overvalued in recent years.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania
Home contact:
PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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