[Taxacom] human involvement (was Re: BioNames)

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Jun 4 03:18:50 CDT 2013


I completely agree with Lyubo when it comes to "prospective" content.  My
comments were strictly in relation to retrospective.

For the retrospective stuff, there is very clearly a need for a two-pronged
approach:

1) Automatic processes to generate a dirty bucket;
2) Manual processes (with some semi-automated guidance) to filter & migrate
the "dirty bucket" into the clean bucket.

Both resources ("dirty bucket" and "clean bucket") have their value.  The
former allows for a lot of content much more quickly, with clever algorithms
plus human brains allowing a human to track down a specific item of
interest; but in general cannot be relied upon as a "reference" (only a way
for a human to locate a reference).  The latter ("clean bucket") is much
better for serving as a reference; but is much more painstaking to populate
for retrospective content.

In any case, as with most things in life, the past solution involves a
mixture of tactics.  Being a clean-bucket sort of guy myself, I appreciate
the value and reward of crowd-sourced manual clean-up of retrospective
content.

Rich

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Lyubomir Penev
> Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 9:31 PM
> To: Doug Yanega; Taxa com
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] human involvement (was Re: BioNames)
> 
> > The answer is simple: less automated and more human involvement in the
> aggregation process, combined with an efficient and transparent system for
> feedback regarding errors, by anyone who notices them (preferably with the
> history all logged and publicly archived) ...
> >
> 
> I would say both automated and human-driven linking should co-exist in
> parallel. This is the approach we have taken in the currently launched
Pensoft
> Writing Tool (PWT) <http://pwt.pensoft.net>. Automated linking exists but
it
> does not prevent authors to add several dedicated links for a taxon name
to
> sources they would like to cite, e.g., pages on BHL or articles in
BioNames,
> where a taxonomic or nomenclatural act has been either firstly published
or
> subsequently revised. Moreover authors can comments on a particular act in
> additional field associated with the link.
> 
> Regards,
> Lyubomir
> 
> 
> On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 1:13 AM, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:
> 
> > On 6/3/13 1:57 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> > > The answer is simple: less automated and more human involvement in
> > > the
> > aggregation process, combined with an efficient and transparent system
> > for feedback regarding errors, by anyone who notices them (preferably
> > with the history all logged and publicly archived) ...
> > >
> > Many of us have been saying this for many years now.
> >
> > This approach, however, faces an extreme challenge from either side of
> > the equation: (1) you can't actually design a proposal where ALL of
> > the necessary labor would be funded, because that would require hiring
> > thousands of people (some of you will recall the "All-Species"
> > initiative, which promised to do just that), and (2) if the labor is
> > all unpaid (an approach which, in essence, has been/is being tried),
> > then any such proposal won't offer much incentive (or guidance) to the
> > volunteers - and good luck finding several thousand skilled volunteers
> > who all have access to all of the necessary original literature.
> >
> > Realistically, one either needs to improve the incentive for
> > participation in the system (such as making participation effectively
> > mandatory, as happens with GenBank), or find a way to fund a large but
> > manageable number of experts who can then coordinate and oversee
> > volunteers within a discipline (or do much of the work themselves,
> > full-time). On my more cynical days, it occurs to me that no one is
> > interested in the latter approach because, if the taxasphere was
> > divvied up into equal parcels (e.g., having 200 experts responsible
> > for, say, no fewer than 10,000 taxa apiece), at least 75% of the
> > positions would go to invertebrate taxonomists.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > --
> > Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
> > Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
> > phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
> >               http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
> >    "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> >          is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> >
> >
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> >
> 
> 
> 
> --
> Dr. Lyubomir Penev
> Managing Director
> Pensoft Publishers
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