"We have developed a short online survey that we hope will capture the information we need to formulate a meaningful response.


Having just completed this survey, I'll note that among the agenda items we're asked to prioritize, two of them ask about the need for funding or leading conservation efforts, but none of them ask about the need for funding or leading curatorial efforts, such as training and supporting taxonomists to provide identifications for natural history collections, or capturing and mobilizing specimen data.

I think all of us in the community understand that you can't promote effective assessment or management of biodiversity if you don't know what the organisms are, or where they live, and while I don't doubt for a minute that the people in SPNHC are fully aware of this fundamental need, I do have to wonder why it does not appear anywhere in the survey, when it seems to me that it should be an integral part of the discussion. After all, it's not like this work has been completed, or is anywhere even close to complete - there isn't a natural history collection in the world that has all of its holdings databased, online, AND fully reviewed for accuracy (both accuracy of data, and accuracy of identification). Is this not one of the highest priorities we in the collections community need to address in terms of the biodiversity crisis? How useful are our millions upon millions of specimens if we don't know whether we can trust the data, or trust the IDs?

I'm not really looking for a public response, but I do want to encourage people taking the survey to make use of the comments towards the end to give feedback, and expand upon the very limited selection of agenda items in the survey, if you agree with me that there are some fundamental things missing.


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82