August 27, 2013

About Scratchpads and related websites

Since I started this blog, my main motivation has been to share information about braconid wasps parasitizing caterpillars (mainly the subfamily Microgastrinae). At the time, it seemed to be the easiest and simplest way to post new photos, host data, and other comments on the group of wasps I work with.  

But I never anticipated to continue blogging for too long... To start with, I do not consider myself a blogger, much less an expert in social media. And there are clear limitations to what can be accomplished with a blog. Furthermore, I do not have a mental disposition to keep writing periodically, but instead I post things whenever I have time -and that is the same to say on an irregular basis...

Then, a few months ago a colleague and friend in Belgium, Yves Braet, contacted me to start a collaboration studying microgastrines from French Guiana. And he mentioned Scratchpads, a free tool to create, publish and contribute to biodiversity knowledge online. I strongly recommend anyone interested in sharing info on species (biodiversity, taxonomy, ecology, etc) to visit Scratchpads and see what it has to offer. It is a nice (and free!) resource to get one started on one's personal group. You will find really neat sites created on various groups -and it is amazing how much can be done.

The only problem is that you have to spend time learning how to create your own website devoted to a taxonomic group. There is a learning curve that requires some effort and time from the interested researcher... and time is the most precious commodity these days.

However, I keep thinking on that, and in the future I may just migrate all contents from this blog to a site within Scratchpads. The main motivation being that information would be presented in a much better and useful way than in this blog. So, the days of this blog may be counted...

Actually, I already went and started a site called New World Microgastrinae. I just uploaded a few photos and wrote three paragrpahs, kind of a test of what could be done. But, since doing that, I have not been able to work more on that site, and it may take awhile before something useful comes from that. Or not, one never knows how things may develop.

Either way, I still hope to find a solution that would allow me to share the information in the easiest and most practical way (Am I dreaming in colors?). Perhaps the reader knows of other possibilities like Scratchpads. If so, please let me know. I am still open to explore different avenues to present the data that I have. Thanks!

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