The way forward for Taxonomy.
Draft: 15 September, 2014.
Taxonomy may seem difficult; some aspects are complex. Its Latinised names and protocols are an evolving, 260-year-old international coding system for communicating basic information about all known living and fossil species. That's all you need to know, for starters, except that, taken one step at a time, it's easy and fun. Taxonomic classification shows you at a glance the essence of what science has discovered about the relationships of each species to all others. Keeping up-to-date has been impossibly difficult, but it helps to have the mind and dedication of a stamp collector. The way forward for BioLists is to make taxonomy work quickly and easily for stamp collectors and all their friends - that's the mission. We do this by cutting corners. Firstly, BioLists avoids the unsettled cutting edge of taxonomic research so as to gain most from the more settled body of knowledge. New taxonomic changes are not added to BioLists until experts (and their rivals) have decided which changes are most likely to stand the test of time. At another level, BioLists needs to move forward into schools, libraries, businesses and peoples' homes. Grass-roots, species-level, data capture will be the most critical cog in the wheel of ecological recovery: feed the computers; include species from your patch and be part of the recovery!
We should all aspire to qualify with a Hunter-Gatherer rating in Natural History.
Currently (September, 2014) all species can be quickly checklisted, but mostly by searching for Genus or Family names and then keying in species and Common Names. BioLists is designed to be most effective by searching its databases using Common Names.
COMMON NAMES: A major advance in the public and professional understanding of Common Names of species would facilitate a major advance in the use of Taxonomy. I suggest a simple, yet radical and far-reaching way of achieving this.