During the last ISTC Meeting Mark Jackson, Martin Pullan and I engaged in an informal discussion - What is cybertaxonomy?
The term cybertaxonomy has existed before the EDIT project, but there never really has been a formal definition assigned to it other than just "eTaxonomy". I first heard the term used by Quentin Wheeler during the annual Systematics Association Meeting in 2002, however, it was only referred to as a process of integrating etaxonomic resources. Four years later Mark, Martin and I attempted to define it ourselves. Here is what we came up with:
1. A taxonomic work process that involves the use of standardised electronic tools to access information (databases, e-publications) and/or to generate knowledge bases (identification keys) (Malte C. Ebach, BGBM).
2. The process by which information available in, or converted into from non digital sources, standardized electronic format is collated analysed and synthesised into a digital representation of one or more taxon concepts. The end product of which is a combination of outputs in both digital and non-digital formats (Martin Pullan, RBGE).
3. The practice of taxonomy, usually in an online environment, using (and innovating in the use of) software tools (Mark Jackson, RBGK).
Recently Vince Smith (NHML) (http://vsmith.info/node/17990) has also joined the debate adding:
4. The use of computers and the World Wide Web in a program of taxonomic research.
Cybertaxonomy perhaps lies somewhere in between - an integrated way to do taxonomy using standardized electronic tools and resources. Since taxonomists are moving toward an electronic taxonomy or etaxonomy by themselves, a definition will certainly arise one way or the other. Either way, EDIT WP5 is committed to providing the platform that will support etaxonomy, whatever it is termed.