[Wikimedia-l] WikiData and WikiSpecies

Denis Barthel denis.barthel at wikimedia.de
Mon Jun 3 11:50:13 UTC 2013

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a community member of the German 
Wikipedia, where I have been active for many years in the 
WikiProject:Biology. As an amateur I had to learn throughout the years, 
that taxonomy is pretty tricky, much more than it seems at first sight.

Though it seems so easy to map taxonomical data in a database due to its 
seemingly strict hierarchical nature, I'm afraid it is much more tricky 
to implement as taxonomy is a discipline with a lot of traps to step in. 
That doesn't mean, that it shouldn't be tried, but when considering to 
do this: please get advice of professional taxonomists (not only general 
biologists) before planning things like that from a purely technical 
point of view. Be aware of heavy differences between the various, but 
binding codes (Zoology, Bacteriology, Botany s.l. and cultivated 
plants). Be aware of the necessity of concurring data trees working with 
the same objects. Be aware of the continous changes of taxonomy and the 
current tendency of dismissing defined ranks for the benefit of nodes.

Such professional advice could be useful to avoid failures due to 
missing expertise in the very beginning. Just a hint.

Best regards,
Denis Barthel

Am 03.06.2013 12:01, schrieb Federico Leva (Nemo):
> Nikola Smolenski, 03/06/2013 11:44:
>> What if this interface would exist? I believe it could be made really
>> quickly and easily.
> It's not about interface only, for instance the search backend is 
> completely broken and useless for Wikidata, AFAICS.
> From what I understand, the interface for Wikidata data is provided by 
> client sites such as Wikipedia. There are no plans for inclusion of 
> Wikispecies as client site, but if/when Wikispecies' needs are 
> implemented this doesn't imply Wikispecies would be useless, rather 
> that it would have easier access to data and could focus on its scope 
> i.e. presenting such data. Currently it tries to do both and IMHO 
> fails at both.
> Nemo
> P.s.: There are also connected problems like sv.wiki becoming a 
> Wikispecies/Wikidata on its own with a million species bot-entries, 
> but it's another story.
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