[tdwg-content] most GUIDs/URIs for names/taxon stuff not ready for prime time

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Sun Jan 9 13:17:17 CET 2011

Well, Rod is pretty much describing me.  I'm not a taxonomist and mostly 
find taxonomic discussions annoying.  I pay attention to the byzantine 
taxonomy stuff only because I feel like I have to.  I would like to use 
URIs that link to some source that takes care of the taxonomic stuff so 
that I don't have to provide the information myself.  But I would like 
to only use URIs that are going to be in widespread use in the future.  
To use an analogy, I'm shopping for a video player.  I want to make sure 
that I don't end up buying a Betamax and then find out later that 
everybody else is using VHS (OK, that dates me - I don't want to buy 
HD-DVD and find out that everybody else is using Blu-ray).   Is uBio a 
Betamax/HD-DVD?  I was thinking that the Global Names Index looked like 
VHS (or Blu-ray), but when I look in the box I only see the instruction 
book - the actual video player seems to be missing.  The conclusion that 
I'm reaching at this point is that it is too early for me to buy. 

Am I wrong about this?  What is the likelihood that this situation will 
change in the next year (i.e. that there will be usable URIs with 
minimal metadata for GNI names)?
> Most users outside our field won't give a damn about the niceties of  
> these distinctions, yet we persist in discussing them ad nauseam.  
> Until we provide a single, very simple service that takes a name  
> string and hides all this complexity (unless the user chooses to see  
> the gory details) while still providing useful information, we will be  
> stuck in multiple identifier hell. The tragedy is  we've never had  
> more people genuinely interested in linking to names than at present  
> -- publishers are desperately trying to add "semantic value" to their  
> content, and we are spectacularly ill-equipped to deliver this (and  
> it's our own fault).
> I rather suspect we're rapidly approaching the point where users  
> outside taxonomy will simply say "to hell with these taxonomists,  
> let's just use Wikipedia and be done with it."
> Regards
> Rod
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
> College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
> Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
> Tel: +44 141 330 4778
> Fax: +44 141 330 2792
> AIM: rodpage1962 at aim.com
> Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192
> Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage
> Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com
> Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html
> .

Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences

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