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paleonet FW: AnimalBase in danger

Dear PaleoNetters,

Some beautiful and useful digitized works can be found here.

Andrew K. Rindsberg

Geological Survey of Alabama

-----Original Message-----
From: Conchologists List [mailto:CONCH-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Bernd Sahlmann
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 5:16 PM
Subject: AnimalBase in danger

Dear conchlers,

I recently received a letter from Francisco Welter-Schultes from AnimalBase,
who asks the scientific community for assistance in the endangered survival
of the AnimalBase project. If you would like to help the project, please
read the text below and send a message to:

Since 2003 the Library of Goettingen University has been digitizing early
zoological literature in cooperation with the Zoological Institute. Nearly
the complete zootaxonomically relevant literature between 1551 and 1770 is
now available to the public. The genus and species level taxa described
between 1757 and 1770 (some 10,000 taxa) were entered into a database
(AnimalBase). Digitized literature and taxa can be found online at

It is now sceduled to digitize more literature from between 1771 and 1800,
and to enter some 50,000 taxa described in these works. The project was
financed by the German Science Foundation (the most important public source
for financing science in Germany). Now they are asking themselves whether
the project is useful for scientists and should be continued for the period
after 1770. Preliminarily they have rejected our motion, based on reviewers
who seemed to be biologists, but did not even know the difference between
genus and species. Now reviews are demanded by persons who are able to give
a professional opinion.

It would be of great help if you could write a short review about this
project (not more than half a page, or 250 words), explaining shortly in
your own words whether the project makes sense or not. The following points
should serve as a guide.

1 - Is the AnimalBase project of Goettingen University for my own work
useful and necessary, and why? Is the project an enrichment for science?

2 - Does it make sense to digitize such old literature? Is this literature
of any present-day significance, or outdated?

3 - Had it been sufficient to digitize the literature without programming
the AnimalBase database, and would specialists find the literature also
without AnimalBase?

4 - Does it make sense to enter the old taxa described
until 1800 directly from the original sources into a database, and to
provide links to the original literature?

5 - Does AnimalBase work properly? Is it possible and easy to find animal
names and literature in the database? Has the database been correctly
arranged for the intended functions?

6 - Academic position, city, and field in which I am specialized.

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