[tdwg] RE: [Taxacom] ITIS, Species 2000, etc.

Lee Belbin leebel at netspace.net.au
Thu May 31 04:55:04 CEST 2007

Dear TDWG list members

I apologise to those on taxacom, but wanted to be sure that those interested
in TDWG knew about this initiative...

It occurred to me that it would be helpful to have a database along the
lines of "Biodiversity information projects of the world". And with the help
of Piers Higgs (http://www.gaiaresources.com.au/) - we have just in the last
few days finished seeding one!


There are about 450 projects seeded in the database of which 295 are
'complete' for the fields that we have surveyed. There is also the ability
to amend existing entries and add new entries. These changes/additions go
into the database and a few people (including myself) are notified to
evaluate these entries.

We have the following fields in the database


Please give it a whirl! Input, amendments and feedback would be appreciated.


Lee Belbin
Manager, TDWG Infrastructure Project
Email: lee at tdwg.org
Phone: +61(0)419 374 133 

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Edwards, G.B.
Sent: Thursday, 31 May 2007 12:46 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] ITIS, Species 2000, etc.

I appreciate the comments of Anna, Mary, Rich, Rod and others on this
subject, and the information links provided, but in many cases, those are
for the one organization each is most associated with.  Not that this isn't
useful, but...

Seems to me what we need is an Encyclopedia of Taxonomic Initiatives (or
maybe a Reader's Digest Version) which would give us the acronym or title,
what it means, what it's purpose is, where it's located, and who it's
contact people are (see those listed below plus a "whole host of other
initiatives", many of which have come up in subsequent discussions).  Also
needed is a glossary of acronyms used within each organization.  Obviously
people who are already involved know what these initiatives are, but I
suspect there are many others who might want to be involved in something,
but don't want to wade through looking up the specs for a bunch of
organizations to find one that seems to fit what they would be willing to
do.  Not to mention how helpful it would be to know the most appropriate
place to go for a particular type of taxonomic information, or to find out
that there actually is an organization that databases some obscure group.
Yes, you can Google, but then you're still wading through thousands of
responses, and you'll probably miss some of the initiatives.  There are just
too many for any one person to keep track of.
How about if the organizers of every initiative send in their information to
a central website which can then be made available to everyone (offers to
host?).  Maybe some of the paralysis will be lifted if people know what
their options are.  Might bring some of those private collections into the
fold.  Might even be a good start to organizing the taxonomic community.
G. B. Edwards
Florida State Collection of Arthropods

...One of the goals of the Encyclopedia of Life is to work with groups like
uBio, GBIF, ITIS, Species2000, IPNI, Index Fungorum, ZooBank, BHL, and a
whole host of other initiatives who deal with taxonomic names to establish
what David Remsen of GBIF calls the "BIG Index" (I'll defer to David for
elaboration of the name).  This would be a giant index of these "usage
instances", or the "facts" of taxonomy, as I defined them above (e.g.,
Smith, 2001, treated "Aus xus" as a junior synonym of "Aus bus").
such a comprehensive index is a monumental task, far outside the scope of
any single initiative like ITIS or Species2000 or most of the others.
it's not outside the scope of the collective taxonomic community as a whole;
which is why ideas like All Species, GBIF's ECAT, and EoL (the latter being
the most robustly funded) are so fundamentally important to serve as a "flag
pole" around which we can all congregate and coordinate our efforts.

I share your feeling that paralysis is the usual response. What continually
astounds me is how little people are aware of the groundwork that already
exists. Most of the issues (GUIDs, generating identifiers, searching based
on journal metadata) have already been solved, in some cases (SICIs,
OpenURL) a decade ago.

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