William L. Brown
Memorial Digital Library

An Online Database of Ant Taxonomic Literature

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Unlike the literature of most other sciences, the literature of taxonomy never goes out of date. Ant biologists, especially those conducting systematic research, must regularly refer to papers written a century or more ago, including records of species descriptions and redescriptions, taxonomic revisions, distributional records, and morphological studies with phylogenetic implications. As a result, each researcher must independently assemble a (usually photocopied) collection of thousands of primary taxonomic publications. This time-consuming task is complicated by the fact that this literature is published in a large number of frequently obscure journals. Because the very few libraries that contain the majority of these journals are located in the U.S. and Europe, this creates a special problem for the growing number of ant researchers elsewhere in the world. This problem of access to the primary taxonomic literature has attained a new level of urgency because, as habitats are increasingly threatened and extinction rates accelerate, ant systematic and ecological research needs to be encouraged now more than ever.

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The website and database is maintained by Ted Schultz and Dan Kjar.