[Taxacom] Article 8 compliance

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Apr 7 21:51:14 CDT 2017


Thanks, Scott.  And of course I completely agree. I got my start in computing with the original Apple in the late 1970’s as well, and recall the exciting day when our school got an Apple with a cassette tape storage system that would allow us to save our programs on a standard music cassette tape, then load them again later for re-use. Bishop Museum got its start in electronic databases with a system that used punchcards. That was before my time, but some of the records we have in GBIF were digitized in that era, and we’ve managed to perpetuate them through to today.

 

I still think that Article 8 allows an extremely low bar in terms of quality control (while it’s true that I can’t describe new species in a blog, anyone with access to a computer and printer can pretty-much do whatever they want).

 

Aloha,

Rich

 

 

From: Scott Thomson [mailto:scott.thomson321 at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 3:53 PM
To: Richard Pyle
Cc: Adam Cotton; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Article 8 compliance

 

Hi Richard,

> 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....

lol.... pretty wide set of posts there, I agree, somewhere in the middle of that. Of course my meaning was about prediction accuracy, not that we do not try. I think the predictions about PDF/A are reasonably sound, but I would never bet my life on it. As you pointed out, we at one stage thought the lasar disk would be forever, who thought of clouds 20 years ago. I learned to program on an original Apple, no numbers, the first one. Using BASIC. In 1978 for those who wish to judge my age. That computer had 4kb of memory and we saved to audio cassettes. Yes young ones the floppy disk had not been invented yet, let alone the lasar one. A modern pocket calculator has more computational power. Times change. These days of course I mostly use C++ and Java, along with SQL and I measure memory in gB and tB.

>> Hence my preference for relying on UTF-8 encoding

Yes UTTF-8 is nice, easy to make a java encoder/decoder for it too, which gives plenty of cross platform support with current systems and hopefully into the future.

>> But I would add that Article 8 does almost nothing to separate quality from rubbish. 

I would not say it does nothing, there are many ways for people to publish, easily from their own desktop or laptop, that are excluded by it. These personal opinion pieces we are better off without. By deeming any publication of this form unavailable for nomenclature saves us some major headaches. It comes into difficulty in the borderline cases which causes us the issues.

Cheers, Scott

 

On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 8:18 PM, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

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.


Aloha,
Rich


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 <tel:%28808%29848-4115> , Fax: (808)847-8252 <tel:%28808%29847-8252>  email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/staff/pylerichard.html








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