Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OA ant publications: Neotropical Ants issue

Hindawi published in the revitalized Psyche (70 articles published only this year) a special edition Advances in Neotropical Myrmecology, including the description of some very unusual ants like the second species of Tatuidris.

From a cataloguing point of view and thus also from a nomenclatorial point, I do not find an indication that the journal is not just an e-only-journal but has the still necessary printed version. Also it is a bit awkward that there is no proper volume number, as Psyche had before, but just the year.

Despite all of this, I am always delighted to see publications from the sprawling Neotropical ant community, and that ants are used in environmental and especially monitoring studies.

Monday, February 27, 2012

antbase down

Antbase is still down, even 27 days after it has been shut down - the story about that will be written up with due distance to this event.

This morning I met my colleagues Helen and Sakine to discuss the future development of the Iran Ant Fauna Project. In this situation, I am the user of antbase and thus realize what it means – if I would not know already – to be cut off from the literature supply.

One of the first thoughts was to think about how we can avoid this in future, and this I am sure will not happen again. The second thought was about the ephemeral nature of the Internet. Somebody outside a project decides to shut down a service and off is such a rather expensive resource. This again is something to keep in mind, but not very helpful right now. The third thought was, I can’t believe it, and there must be ways around.

And there are.

Remember, one important element of antbase was that you can get from a reference directly to the respective page or publication. And this service is now cut, because the link exists, but it does not resolve. The way around is to do the following that works to publications at around 2009.
1. Go to’s WayBackMachine and search for
2. Click the latest snapshot of antbase and enter the search term you want. You can get all the publications out this way.
3. Copy the title of the publication you want into the search field on the upper right corner of and you will get the respective publication from the ant collection Brian and I once helped the Internet Archive to establish.

We are now close to have the entire data moved to a new site and will be able to relaunch antbase within the next days.

General issues are dealt with here.

Specimen collection

Today I got the most extraordinary ant collection for identification ever. I wonder, what words can mean, and how loosely they can be interpreted. I met this student from Mashad at IRIPP to discuss his project to write a book about the ants of Iran. Among others we discussed how he has to label and mount the ants. For that I showed him some examples, and explained it again at the recent first meeting of Iranian myrmecologists and this is the result. Yes, I do not speak Farsi, and I eat up ends of my words, but even pictures (the slides with mounted specimens) don't do the job. A real challenge for intercultural communication.
Even tough I would have preferred a detailed list of specimen information, his list at least includes geo-coordinates (I assume from a GPS in the field) which allows to derive all the rest of the information.
The good thing - though demanding some time - is that there is a wet collection as well.