[Taxacom] Data query

Dr Brian Taylor dr.brian.taylor at ntlworld.com
Tue Jun 25 05:39:51 CDT 2013

A little point but critical to the ongoing discussion.  On each taxonomic
page of my website "Ants of Africa", I painstakingly gave a link to the
Hymenoptera Name Server.

The link for several years has been on

Suddenly the location (server, I assume) has changed to


So all my 2000 or so pages have a non-operational link.

So, I might argue, what was the point of my spending time giving links?


On 25/06/2013 07:55, "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

> I slogged through this discussion, and found many things I agreed with, and
> many things I disagreed with, from all of the major contributors to the
> thread.  However, I did want to call attention to one point raised by
> several different people, that I STRONGLY agree with, and that I would like
> to see amplified repeatedly  and very loudly:
> Tony Rees said it this way:
>> What we really need to aspire to is a network of linked systems
>> whereby changes and new content entered once can propagate
>> automatically elsewhere as needed rather than requiring manual input
> And again this way:
>> Perhaps it is time to move the discussion on to related matters
>> such as how to possibly chain these systems together in the future
>> so that updates may more readily flow from the point of entry to
>> potentially multiple points of re-use...
> And then Stephen followed with this gem:
>> Well, one thing that stands out here is that the only honourable
>> thing to do, but is rarely done, is to provide links from a taxon
>> page in one project to the corresponding taxon pages in other
>> projects which may have better and more complete data on
>> that taxon, so as to give the user a chance of finding what
>> they want to know even if the project they have visited
>> doesn't have the data. Conversely, doing so will also highlight
>> how good the visited project is, if the linked projects have
>> less data, so it is win-win, really!
> YES!  YES! YES!!
> About two years ago, it became very clear to me that a small feature I added
> to my Taxonomer database back in the 1990's, and included in the first
> version of ZooBank back in 2008 (cross-linking identifiers) will almost
> certainly come to be known as one of the most important (if not *the* most
> important) contributions from GNUB/ZooBank to our community; which is a
> generic mechanism for cross-linking records to each other.
> It's an incredibly simple data structure, and is now built in to the ZooBank
> website for Authors, References and Taxon Names (but it can easily be
> applied to any record in any table of the database).  When you're logged in
> to ZooBank and have access to a particular record for editing, you'll see a
> small link next to the "Edit" button for "add external identifier". Click on
> this and you get a pop-up form that lets you create cross-links to other
> external databases.  Just for fun, I went to my old trusty example:
> http://zoobank.org/8BDC0735-FEA4-4298-83FA-D04F67C3FBEC
> and added a link to the Wikispecies page (Identifier Doimain = "WikiSpecies
> Page"; Identifier = "Chromis_abyssus"), and voilà!  A link from the ZooBank
> record to the WikiSpecies page is born!
> Now... a few caveats...  there is a buglet that prevents the closing of the
> pop-up form after you create such a link (just refresh the page to make it
> go away).  Also, it's only visible if you have edit access to a particular
> record in ZooBank.  Once we fix the buglet and beef up the protection code
> (to minimize bogus entries), we'll make this feature available to anyone
> with a login account for applying to any record (whether or not the user has
> edit access to the record).
> Our plan is to develop a generic service around this cross-linking mechanism
> such that anyone can harvest the cross-links for any record, and display
> them on their local page.  The REALLY cool part is this:  Once I link the
> ZooBank record to the Wikispecies page, the WoRMS page, the FishBase page,
> and so on....I've not only linked ZooBank to these other sources, we've also
> linked these other sources TO EACH OTHER. In the example I gave above
> (Chromis abyssus), I didn't just link ZooBank to WikiSpecies; I also linked
> WikiSpecies to BOLD, Bill Eschmeyer's Catalog of Fishes, Digimorph, EoL,
> FishBase, MorphBank, NCBI/GenBank, and WoRMS.  And, I've linked each of
> these databases to WikiSpecies (as well as each other).  The idea for the
> generic service would be for WoRMS to fire off its identifier (in this case,
> 345844) to the service and get back the links to all the other databases.
> As Stephen says, the honorable data managers will see this as a no-brainer
> win-win.
> I'll post more on this service once we get it functional.
> Aloha,
> Rich
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