Hannon othonna@gmail.com
Sat, 18 Jan 2014 11:44:15 PST
Leo writes,

"Through time committed individuals are the ones who preserve culture, not
Institutions frequently destroy culture."

I think this statement is true but it should be emended to include
committed individuals within institutions.

Aside from topics overlapping in this thread (databases shared online vs.
programs for personal use), there are at least two elements that have not
been addressed adequately: longevity and usefulness. If the goal is to
conserve living plants in cultivation, why do such programs need to last
"forever"? They could be useful to a wide range of people even for a few
years before transforming or giving way to something else. The relations
between plants and humans is transient and very fluid.

Any scheme to mirror the database sharing of institutions in the private
sector should have clear objectives, benefits and limitations for the
participants. As far as actually using such a resource, no one has yet said
how it would be expected to work. It seems to be an assumption here that it
is "just a good idea so let's do it". Would all PBS members be able to
logon and see what is in other collections and then make requests? What are
the liabilities for any participating party? The "legal ownership" of
plants (and animals) is an issue developing apace that threatens to
overshadow collections preservation in many institutions. Will that burden
spread to all collections and individuals? How would that impact the
sharing of information about collections?

As Leo indicates, institutions are not motivated to do anything so much as
preserve and grow themselves. Giving over valuable information, and
materials by implication, to a public forum should be carefully considered.

Dylan Hannon


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