From taxonomic literature to cybertaxonomic content
BMC Biology , Volume 10 - Issue 87
Taxonomy is a fundamental science that provides the scaffolding for biology. But the true value of taxonomic data remains unrealized because basic biodiversity information remains fragmented and unevenly accessible. Taxonomy helps us recognize species and map their distributions by generating text descriptions, images, and records of when and where they have been observed. Current rates of species extinction, habitat loss, and climate change mean that taxonomy has never been more relevant. Biodiversity is one of the most information-rich fields of human knowledge, but advances in basic cybertaxonomic infrastructure have only recently provided the tools to organize biodiversity information in ways that respond to a wide range of user groups, including ecologists, land managers, and interested citizens, not to mention the benefits of readily accessible information to the global taxonomic community. The call to revitalize taxonomy by embracing the internet has been sounded for more than a decade. The time is ripe to significantly increase the volume of taxonomic information freely available online. But simply posting information online will not automatically reinvigorate taxonomy. There are myriad online sites dedicated to particular taxa or projects. These are useful to users interested in questions within the site’s domains. But the greater potential lies in mechanisms for aggregating primary source data in ways that allow users to filter and recombine data easily and flexibly for whatever purposes they imagine.
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Miller, J., Dikow, T., Agosti, D., Sautter, G., Catapano, T., Penev, L., … Bénichou, L. (2012). From taxonomic literature to cybertaxonomic content. BMC Biology, 10(87).