[Taxacom] Fwd: Community curation
schindeld at si.edu
Sat Oct 26 06:54:35 CDT 2013
It seems that the logorrheic cohort of Taxacom has latched onto my earlier post as another opportunity to clog this forum. I hope others will see the value in having an authoritative source of information on collections that can assist users. InstIDs are still the lingua franca for labeling specimens in publications and USNM and other repositories are using them (with CollectionIDs) as specimen identifiers in online resolver systems. GenBank records with USNM vouchers now point to http://collections.mnh.si.edu/services/resolver/[CollectionID/CatalogNumber such as http://collections.mnh.si.edu/services/resolver/birds/621682. Until the community agrees on and implements a standard for GUIDs, a system based on existing Darwin Core elements isn't a terrible alternative, though I recognize its shortcomings.
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Michael Heads
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2013 3:33 AM
To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Fwd: Community curation
That's one of the best summaries I've seen - spot on. One thing though -
you say the people organising these things are 'dreamers hopeful that
everyone will stop whatever else they're doing long enough for the dream to
be validated'. I don't think these carpetbaggers are in it for the
dream; they're in it for the money.
On Sat, Oct 26, 2013 at 8:25 PM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>wrote:
> David Schindel wrote:
> "The GRBio registry, like Index Herbariorum, BCI and biorepositories.org,
> relies on community curation. People enter their data and if they don't,
> then those data aren't available. It's the same basis as GBIF or any other
> database except surveys like a national census or labor statistics. No one
> is paid to collect these data from the taxosphere and if the community
> doesn't want to create a knowledge commons then it will reap the
> It's like the call from GBIF for the 'biodiversity community' to
> voluntarily correct millions of errors, or from EoL for the same community
> to supply volunteer taxon curators for the tens of thousands of name-only
> EoL pages. GRBio, GBIF, EoL and a dozen other acronyms are ambitious
> projects started and run by people who know perfectly well that their goals
> are unachievable unless thousands of other people contribute vast amounts
> of time and effort gratis.
> In their first attempts to ingratiate themselves with potential
> volunteers, the projects have marketed themselves like laundry detergents.
> Biodiversity science will be easier, cleaner and faster if only everyone
> supported and used the latest acronym.We're now seeing empty threats like
> Schindel's. If we don't help GRBio, we 'will reap the consequences'.
> Acronym promoters and staff either don't understand or prefer to ignore
> three simple facts. First, as the number of whining beggars increases,
> charity per beggar is going to drop. Second, 'the community' doesn't exist
> except as a metaphorical aggregate. The reality is a multitude of
> specialist communities, sometimes with a membership of one, whose needs and
> interests may or may not overlap with those of the acronyms.
> Third and most important, any Web-based acronym is competing as a resource
> with any number of other non-acronym, Web-based sources of the same
> information. Specialists have put online their own, expert-checked,
> taxonomic and occurrence data. Biological repositories have put online
> their own structure, staff, holdings etc. This is the Web-based 'knowledge
> commons' in the 21st century: fragmented and uneven. The *search engine*
> has replaced the big, comprehensive, authoritative resources that sat on
> the librarian's desk or the Professor's shelf. Those resources were built
> by paid teams and sold to recover costs, not thrown out unfinished by
> dreamers hopeful that everyone will stop whatever else they're doing long
> enough for the dream to be validated.
> 'Community curation' by the people of 'the taxosphere' ain't gonna happen,
> and the more acronyms pleading for it, the less likely it will be. The
> reason isn't a lack of altruism among biologists, it's a well-grounded lack
> of interest in helping yet another acronymic parasite.
> P.S. Did Austin Mast really write breathlessly about volunteer
> digitisation of labels 'This is an exciting opportunity to work on a
> ground-breaking citizen-science endeavor with immediate and strong impacts
> in the areas of biodiversity and applied conservation'? 'Ground-breaking'?
> Seven years after Herbaria at home kicked off?
> 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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> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
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My recent books:
*Molecular panbiogeography of the tropics.* 2012.* *University of
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