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Re: Idea for an "Open Dinosaur Project"-like Wikimedia Project



> From: Ashley Fragomeni <afragome@nhm.org>

> Being a tour guide, researcher and educator at the NHM, I'm
> always
> looking for the most current and up to date information
> available on all
> things dinosauria, which can be difficult by solely using
> books alone
> and random Wiki pages. One of the reasons that I love the
> listserve so
> much is that we have and share access to the most up to
> date research. 
> 
> This kind of project would be very worthwhile!
> 
> 
> Ashley Fragomeni
> Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Thanks. <3

> From: Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com>

> I don't understand what this would
> achieve that working on the
> Wikespecies or Wikipedia articles wouldn't.  It seems
> to me like an
> unnecessary splitting of effort -- at best, the new
> initiative would
> take effort away from Wikipedia and Wikispecies. 
> There are already
> globally recognised anyone-can-edit pages on T. rex on both
> of those
> sites -- do we really need a third?
> 
> Sorry not to be more positive.

You don't need to apologize if you don't think it's a good idea. If I didn't 
want your opinion I wouldn't have asked you for it. :P Your involvement in a 
similar project makes your input especially valuable. 

Anyway, this project (no name yet, been tossing around things like Wikidata, 
Wikiscience, Wikidemics, etc) fulfills an entirely different function than 
Wikipedia. This project would collect technical data like measurements, 
cladistic matrices, references, etc instead of encyclopedia articles.

A visual metaphor: if a Wikipedia is a mosaic, this project would be a box full 
of tiles. The *crowds* *admire* the mosaic, but the *artists* can *use* the box 
of tiles to create new designs that may one day end up in the mosaic. Wikipedia 
*summarizes the whole* for the *layman*, while my idea *aggregates the pieces* 
for the *professional*. They serve different but equally important purposes and 
have different target audiences.

You're right that there is similarity to Wikispecies, but the scope is so much 
br
verlap it. Both could coexist in the Wikimedia Foundation, or this project 
could assimilate Wikispecies into its life sciences coverage. That would be up 
to the Wikimedia community if the project takes off.

I'm very surprised that you of all people wouldn't be more enthusiastic, 
because this proposal is essentially the same concept as ODP- using crowd 
sourcing to centralize and aggregate scientific data (like Ornithischian fossil 
measurements), so that researchers can put it to good use. 

The main difference between the two is focus. The ODP has a specific research 
project in mind; this wiki project would be open ended and not focused on any 
researcher or plan, allowing people to use the data whenever and however they 
need. It also differs in how it accepts data (open editing), as opposed to the 
need to send XLS files. Lastly the planned way the data are organized and 
distributed (on a wiki, with optional downloads) is also different (downloads 
only for ODP).

The ODP and this proposal are similar enough that they even may be able to 
benefit each other. I don't know that I could convince you it's a good idea, 
but I think if I could plop a functional, completed version of the idea in 
front of you that you'd like it. Thanks for caring enough to reply and sorry I 
haven't been able to contribute to the DOP (yet?).

~ Abyssal