Web-based taxonomy

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Web-based taxonomy is the effort by taxonomists to use the World Wide Web in order to create unified, consensus taxonomies of life on Earth.

In his 2002 paper on the subject[1], H. Charles J. Godfray called for the creation of Web-based organisations to collect all the accumulated literature on a taxonomic group into a centralized knowledge base and make this data available through the Web as a unified taxonomy, so that it can be more easily examined and revised. Such a platform would be owned and maintained by a taxonomic working group, governed by an editor or an editorial board. An example of such a platform is FishBase.

The notion of Web-based consensus taxonomies remains controversial because, as two Australian researchers pointed out[2], taxonomic names are not fixed but hypotheses, and therefore in constant change.


  1. Godfray, H.C.J (2002). Challenges for taxonomy. Nature 417: 17-19
  2. Thiele, Kevin and David Yeates (2002). "Tension arises from duality at the heart of taxonomy". Nature 419 (419): 337. doi:10.1038/419337a. 

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