Sunday, March 11, 2007

Antbase vs. Bolton et al.

From a post by Myrmecos1 on The Ant Farm Message Board:
A short while ago, Bolton, Alpert, Ward, and Naskrecki published a CD-ROM update to the monumental Bolton (1995) Catalogue of the Ants of the World. The update can be purchased here: Bolton et al 2006. This update contains largely the same information that is already freely available at the Hymenoptera Name Server, served through

In my experience, the Bolton Catalogue is considerably easier to search than antbase, and perhaps more importantly, it contains a great many fewer errors. However, the CD-Rom is static, not continually updated as is antbase, and is copy- and export-protected, so that most of the advantages of digitized information (such as web connections) cannot be taken advantage of. It also costs $50. Not trivial.

Publication of the new CD-ROM has sparked some harsh words between the competing groups over issues relating to copyright, accessibility, and ownership of information. There is a caustic, though informative, exchange up at Donat Agosti's blog between antbase's Agosti and Bolton et al's Naskrecki here:

biodivcontext blog

I say pop some popcorn, pull up a seat, and watch the fireworks.
via The Ant Farm Message Board


  1. "it contains a great many fewer errors."

    Since you know the errors, why aren't you telling us the errors? There are few people out there doing that (Kiko, Pedro Salinas, Christian Klingenstein, Brian Fisher among them), and we can correct all of the errors quickly. We even give you with the pdf's of the original literature the chance to cross check - but I could also imagine a world, where there is not just taking. So: tell us what'r wrong and we'll correct.

    In fact, if you tell us, the errors in ITIS, GBIF, Species2000, GenBank, antweb, will be corrected as well because we feed them the data.

    By the way, I am happy to be able to contribute to your well feeling, relacation and eating pop corn to watch unfolding ant drama: I had to copy well over 600 publications from the library and write my own catalogues.

    Why then give us a little break as well by telling us what we are missing, what is wrong etc.?


  2. Donat, my blog entry was a quotation by somebody else (Myrmecos1) on the Ant Farm message board, which in turn was turning people's attention to your own blog entry. I think the topic under discussion is interesting and used the quotation because I thought it might get people interested in the discussion. They do not, however, portray my own personal views or opinions, which are still evolving. If you would like to respond directly to this entry, you can do so at the Ant Farm Message Board -- -- (where, no doubt, many more people will read it, including the original author). And thanks for reading my blog!