[Taxacom] ICZN and Wikispecies (was Re: "nude" Coccinellid genera?)

JF Mate aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
Sat Mar 9 02:42:12 CST 2013

Hi Doug

I am very sorry for my very late reply, but work has kept me away. In
your email you said that:

> Speaking as a Commissioner, I can confidently say this could never
> happen, for one very obvious reason: the ICZN deals only with
> nomenclature, not taxonomy, and Wikispecies deals with taxonomy.

However we have to be realistic. Only a few thousand people will
notice (or care) about the distinction between nomenclature and
taxonomy. Most information users are not taxonomists but biologists,
conservationists, etc and they don´t really care about the process
behind their only want, a list that is to the best possible degree
accurate and up to date. In fact ZooBank, although very useful to
taxonomists, should be piggy-backed within such a list.

I am not saying ICZN should be running a list of everything, I am
suggesting that they should be working together with others
(Wikispecies comes to mind because I am an entomologist)  to produce a
single source of taxonomic information that also integrates the
nomenclatural data to make the list complete, accurate and ultimately
useful to all parties, with a mechanism that allows the financial
viability of the enterprise without excluding (i.e. not paying 20
dollars every time you want to access it). It could also serve as a
repository of orphan websites. A lot of work has been done already by
individuals working on their own groups but when they retire or die
these online resources disappear, even if they were in a museum.

Have the Code online with DOIs and hyperlinks to all the acts instead
of a printed version and let it be part of your annual taxonomists
suscription. Even better, have an App! Appeal to users to donate;
plaster pictures of commissioners/taxonomists/David Attenborough (ask
him first) cajoling people to help, like Wikipedia. Yes I agree that
information should be accessible, but in a day and age of dwindling
resources we shouldn´t kid ourselves thinking it is entirely free.

Of course we could just let EoLbecome THE source of all wisdom and
then complain about the quality of their work before the party moves
on and it also disappears together will all the information.



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