[Taxacom] For UNIX and Linux geeks

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sun Nov 3 22:53:29 CST 2013

Most of the taxonomy pages on the 'Millipedes of Australia' website, and the downloadable CSV and KML files of species occurrences, are now 'computer-generated' rather than hand-built. The building is done by BASH shell scripts. The scripts pull data from tables stored as simple text, then manipulate these data using modern versions of classic UNIX tools like AWK and sed.

You can find geeky explanations and the scripts themselves here: http://www.polydesmida.info/millipedesofaustralia/scripts.html

I haven't used the word 'database' yet because I don't have one. All the taxonomic and occurrence data are in simple, tab-separated text tables. Data aren't entered or imported into a database application, then managed there. Management and reporting are instead done by programs and tools *external* to the data, and the doing is amazingly fast.

This post is mainly for Linux users who like to write their own code and don't want to be tied to SQLite or MySQL (or to complex proprietary programs like Access or FileMaker Pro, run under WINE). Feel free to modify the scripts, which are now public domain.
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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