[Taxacom] taxonomic names databases

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Tue Sep 6 11:33:49 CDT 2016

>    With "deflationary" I mean: saying that a certain practice or technology
> is not that meaningful or impactful. "We are just organizing things." "It
> is just a tool for navigation". "We are just synthesizing the data that are
> currently out there; we take what people give us". "We are just doing with
> the users want and need". "Classification does not matter very much".

Such assertions are particularly frustrating when they serve as excuses for
not taking responsibility:  "Your classification needs a correction - these
homonyms have been confused"  "We just aggregate the data - go to the
sources and tell them to fix it", followed by effort from the user to track
down the source databases, determine that they have the taxa correct and
the aggregator is the source of the error.

It seems odd and counterproductive that funding favors developing a video
game to try to improve BHL's OCR, but not providing a way for competent
users to help improve OCR, for example.  The game's not a bad idea, but it
won't do nearly  as much good as an actual systematist reading a page and
identifying the names found on it.  Of course, uncritical accepting of
feedback won't be better than uncritical accepting of data; there needs to
be someone who can sort junk from credible.

Dr. David Campbell
Assistant Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Box 7270
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017

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