Friday, August 17, 2012

Using Flickr for scientific discovery

Not sure whether this is information literacy, but it is an example of knowledge being extended and disseminated using the internet. It is also an example of the power of browsing and encountering as information behaviour strategies, as the taxonomist came across the new species because he randomly browses pictures of insects on Flickr.

Winterton, S., Ping Guek, H. and Brooks, S. (2012) "A charismatic new species of green lacewing discovered in Malaysia (Neuroptera, Chrysopidae): the confluence of citizen scientist, online image database and cybertaxonomy." ZooKeys, 214, 1–11.
In fact the title gives you the idea: a taxonomist spotted a picture of an insect on Flickr, thought it was a new species of green lacewing (though it must be said there are 1200 different species), contacted the photographer in Malaysia who was able to capture a specimen a year later and send it to the taxonomist, who verified that it was new. Also, the authors used Google Docs to write the article, and the journal this article is published in is open access. However, you have to pay to publish, a minimum of 300 Euro, with some discounts (but I will write about my opposition to the author-pays model of publishing another time...)
The photo is by me, and is not a lacewing (the photographer does not alllow embedding or downloads) but a bee in my garden in Sheffield a week ago.

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