Expression of continuing interest / what needs to be done
Stinger at FIU.EDU
Wed Jul 19 21:34:51 CEST 2000
Still here too, although I have been silent lately.
I am in reasonably good agreement with Stuart Poss on what needs to be
done with relation to data structures and standards - good work Stuart.
I will add, briefly, that the issues, in my mind are clearly being
debated beyond their level of resolution in that I really don't think
that we should be wasting our time trying to figure out sets of
descriptors for specific taxa, the inherent data hierarchy and
descriptive extensibility are the important things. As much as I would
like not to admit it, I have not yet been convinced that DELTA cannot
function for us as the basis for taxonomic data structure. We will
never regulate descriptor terminology because creative careful
observation and the creative and clear semantics involved in
communicating those observations completely is the basis of all
observational biology. The strength of Systematics as a science is
really in our diversity of ways of making observations and communicating
Do we need this? I think yes. We need to expand it.
With respect to what needs to be done by TDWG in the big picture. My
priority is in developing reliable authority files. Our efforts at
making reliable and updateable authority files for many groups and types
of data are in their infancy and every database is suffering because of
it. Content and structure are both important and we have heard from
several clearly gifted thinkers on structure. I think that we need to
put some more enegry, as a group, into ways to generate more and better
Gerald "Stinger" Guala, Ph.D.
Keeper of the Herbarium
Fairchild Tropical Garden
11935 Old Cutler Rd.
Miami, FL 33156
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