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Re: The myth of coding from specimens firsthand and the untapped resource of photos

 The time to prepare the photographic database would be long, and
 costly, and certainly involve massive amounts of patience, and in a
 time of economic floundering, when the US at least has been cutting
 back its "discretionary" science spending and certain vociferous
 factions antithetical to Science have risen up (especially in
 connection to "ClimateGate"), most researchers opting to take
 personal projects on should have to shoulder the burden of their
 desires. Any further increase in the quality of virtual data as a
 resource takes time and money, and we can spend that either
 travelling to the sources, or paying for the sources to develop
 resources to negate that.

What is cheaper: an institution paying for having its collections photographed, or the same institution paying its researchers to zoom around the globe again and again?

I bet it's the former by an order of magnitude or two.

The need to travel around the globe to see specimens will not disappear; but if we can restrict it, while at the same time _decreasing_ our dependence on crappy line drawings, that's exactly what we should do.