The dead of OTP

The Open Taxonomy Project was an excellent idea, some time ago proposed by Bob Mesibov (see also Snailblog > Taxonomy > 26-06-2009). There has been little progress since that time, and now he has declared the project dead, although he still hopes that someone is grasped by the idea and will take it further. Here is the full message of Bob:

“Google will soon be making their Google Groups much less open and flexible. I considered shifting Open Taxonomy Projects to another Web space, but as there’s been no activity in 12 months I’ve decided to close the group before Google makes it unworkable. I’ve archived the documents and discussions and can supply them on request.

Open taxonomy is still a good idea, IMO, but I personally have not had the time to work on it. As Frans Janssen pointed out, was a kind of OTP even before OT was articulated as an idea. I wish it well and hope it inspires similar Web-based resources.

As promised, I spent some time over the past year working on online taxonomy training tools. I’ve now stopped, because here in Australia, at any rate, there seems to be even less interest than there was in early 2009 in encouraging students, let alone citizen scientists, to learn taxonomy. I’m afraid the 2011 version of this list

will be even smaller than the 2010 one.

Looking around the Web, it seems that the only serious taxonomy training is EDIT’s:

This is an excellent initiative and I hope it continues, and perhaps even gets ‘exported’ to other parts of the world under the EDIT/DEST banner.”.

Generally, the waning interest in taxonomy is indeed a concern. With the recent Nagoya Biodiversity Summit agreements one would think that taxonomy is still needed. I’m wondering if there is somebody around with excellent communication skills who can get this message across.

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