Walley, Lisa , Knapp, Sandra .
Taxonomy on the web - the PBI Solanum experiment.
Five years ago the Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (PBI) Solanum project set out to complete a global monograph of the genus Solanum proposing to publish their findings electronically via the World Wide Web. From humble beginnings nestled within the Natural History Museumís complex of servers, the Solanaceae Source Web site was born. Taking its first tentative steps it moved from a static Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) site displaying information about the project towards a fledgling database driven Web application enabling users to search and explore information about names, specimens and descriptions. As content came in the functionality of the site grew, evolving to meet the needs of the contributors and the expected demands of the users. The site came into its own as the objective of publishing project findings online was met. But that was just the start. The challenges facing the taxonomist in trying to pin down and describe an ever evolving, undiscovered world are the same as the challenges facing the Web developer trying to pin down and commit to ever evolving, undiscovered technologies and ways of utilizing those technologies. Mid-way through the project Web 2.0 phenomena exploded. The Internet had become a platform and everything that had gone before suddenly looked dated and obsolete. For Solanaceae Source the implications were both exciting and daunting, behind us was a tried and tested formula of publishing online and ahead of us was the gleaming utopia of interoperability, information sharing and participation that reflected more accurately the collaborative efforts and aspirations at the heart of PBI Solanum.
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1 - Natural History Museum, Department of Botany, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, England
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Location: Magpie A/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 1:30 PM