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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2009 Mar 13;367(1890):953-66. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2008.0190.

Taxonomy as an eScience.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.


The Internet has the potential to provide wider access to biological taxonomy, the knowledge base of which is currently fragmented across a large number of ink-on-paper publications dating from the middle of the eighteenth century. A system (the CATE project) is proposed in which consensus or consolidated taxonomies are presented in the form of Web-based revisions. The workflow is designed to allow the community to offer, online, additions and taxonomic changes ('proposals') to the consolidated taxonomies (e.g. new species and synonymies). A means of quality control in the form of online peer review as part of the editorial process is also included in the workflow. The CATE system rests on taxonomic expertise and judgement, rather than using aggregation technology to accumulate taxonomic information from across the Web. The CATE application and its system and architecture are described in the context of the wider aims and purpose of the project.

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