[Taxacom] "nude" Coccinellid genera?

Paul Kirk P.Kirk at kew.org
Mon Mar 4 01:58:35 CST 2013

In the real world that you dream of Stephen there can be no better example to follow with respect to collecting, managing and delivering information than Google. And do the Goolebots collect the information on the web and store it in a Wiki platform? Well no, they store it in a database - something called Bigtable if I am not in error. So, in the 21st century of big data (and a web of data - watch the TED lecture by Tim Berners-Lee) it is databases that are the tools we must use. Index Fungorum (and Species Fungorum) is not some funded outfit, although it did received 50,000 euro about a decade ago to add missing data and augment some content required by another funded outfit. Perhaps the reason you selected IF as an example of a more or less complete piece of the 'puzzle' was because of the 'c' word - collaboration - in this case by the mycologists, rather than another 'c' word - competition, which has been a characteristic of some of our activities. The botanists did it differently, by merging three exsiting databases into IPNI, and is another 'more or less complete' piece. And then we have ZooBank, which is doing a sterling job to attempt to 'catch up' by duplication you know what ... ;-)


From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
Sent: 03 March 2013 21:02
To: Robert Mesibov; Paul Kirk
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] "nude" Coccinellid genera?

Bob, regarding an "all-names Catalogue", I have to say that in an ideal world, we would all be working together to achieve this on an open wiki platform like Wikispecies. But in the real world, hardly anyone can be bothered, they just want to leave it to some funded outfit to do, but the wheels of funded outfits tend to turn very slowly, as it is their living, so actually achieving it too quickly would not be prudent for them. We do have some more or less complete pieces of the whole puzzle, like Index Fungorum, but these are too few and far between ...

From: Robert Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au<mailto:mesibov at southcom.com.au>>
To: P.Kirk at kew.org<mailto:P.Kirk at kew.org>
Cc: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
Sent: Sunday, 3 March 2013 11:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] "nude" Coccinellid genera?

Paul Kirk wrote:

"Am I missing something here ...? Is not the status of a name determined by
searching the appriopriate nomenclator for the link to the
article/book/monography where Code compliance (i.e. is the name available) can
be determined. Yes? Might it therefore be more productive to focus on the task
of ensuring the nomenclator is available than trying to control what appears on
the web - the later sounds distinctly Canute'ish"

So we need an all-names catalogue, which Catalogue of Life attempts to be, and Wikispecies aims to be. The catalogue can then be used by either the producer of Web content (a museum, say, or GBIF) or the consumer of Web content (someone who's found a Web checklist of all the Hemiptera in their region, and wants to know if the names are current, correctly spelled, etc). Sounds like a good idea, Paul, but as a regular reader of Taxacom posts you will be aware that the idea is a long way from becoming reality.

ALA uses expert-compiled Australian national species lists as a first check of what it lists, and Catalogue of Life as a backup. In my audit paper I show that this checking doesn't always work. I don't know what GBIF checks, but it interprets code names as real species names. For example, the data provider database has the code-name Myallosoma 'wagga' (GBIF Scientific name field) and this appears as Myallosoma wagga in the GBIF Scientific name (Interpreted) field. So far as I know a GBIF search doesn't look through 'interpreted' names, but it's a curious thing to do.
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
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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