[Taxacom] Article 8 compliance

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Apr 7 18:18:07 CDT 2017

Thanks, Scott.

> One comment that came to mind is it is impossible to predict the future. 

Technical quibble: People predict the future all the time.  What's impossible is predicting the future with 100% accuracy and 100% consistency in all situations.  The trick is in making *accurate* predictions about the future.  In some cases, this can be done with incredibly high precision and accuracy (e.g., when the sun is going to rise tomorrow, when solar and lunar eclipses will happen, etc.)  But in most cases, particularly those involving chaotic processes like human behavior (e.g., politics), it becomes increasingly difficult to predict future events.  I would place the ability to predict what will happen in terms of the wants/needs/actions of the taxonomic community somewhere between these extremes....

I agree with everything else in you post, with particular emphases on these points:

> The electronic should be as binary as possible, literally pure data no software specific rendering. 

Exactly. Hence my preference for relying on UTF-8 encoding (i.e., the standard conversion of binary 1's and 0's into human-readable characters like letters, numbers and other symbols); and perhaps XML (highly versatile method of adding metadata structure to information, which itself only relies on a specific encoding such as UTF-8) -- but nothing more complex than that (at least for the long term data storage & recall).

> if ZooBank moves to be the only mandatory requirement, then it must be able 
> to survive in some form, and we must assume it will not.

Absolutely!  This is a fundamental "must" for any electronic system we develop and rely upon for nomenclatural information.

> For those that are not and have other ambitions shortcuts are possible, as we know, 
> in the absence of article 8 we need something to separate quality from rubbish. 

Exactly.  But I would add that Article 8 does almost nothing to separate quality from rubbish.  One of the key advantages in my view of consolidating nomenclatural actions within a single online registration system is that we would have far more robust, complete, and flexible control over implementing mechanisms to separate quality from rubbish compared with what Article 8 affords.


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences | Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology | Dive Safety Officer
Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

More information about the Taxacom mailing list