Antwiki provides a wealth of information on the world's ants. Contributions come from ant experts together with discussions provided by experts and amatuers. In addition, data is collated from numerous global databases and integrated with individual taxon pages.
A home page for every ant
The goal of Antwiki is to provide a home page for every ant. A place on the Web where everything known about every species of ant can be assembled. Images, specimens, text, data, it's all here, contributed by experts and open to everyone. And as our knowledge grows, so does Antwiki. Every day brings new understanding and every day Antwiki is updated and expanded. This information comes from both local as well as global studies, assembled into a single picture. "Antwiki provides a place for everyone to contribute local knowledge in pursuit of a global understanding of the world’s ant fauna."
Building a global picture of the world's ants
But Antwiki is much more than just species home pages. Antwiki provides a place to document local faunas, collate notes on life history traits, discuss broad ecological processes and phenomena, assemble image galleries and specify distribution information. This information isn't forced into predefined styles but is presented in the format that most suits the data being reported. While guidelines are suggested to encourage uniform presentation across pages there are few firm rules. And there are no limits on the information that can be included. If it relates to ants and it is of interest to others, then it can be part of Antwiki.
Authoritative information provided by experts
Antwiki content is provided by ant experts. These editors have spent considerable time studying the world's ant fauna and are happy to share their knowledge. Information on the website is continually being checked, updated and expanded. Editors and Contributors can also comment on the information within Antwiki by adding to each page's Discussion page. In this way brief notes, casual observations and unconfirmed thoughts can be shared and complement robust expert-vetted information.
Taxon Home Pages
The centerpiece of Antwiki is its taxon home pages. These pages, one for each subfamily, genus and species, provide extensive information on the taxon. Text and images are presented in as concise and consistent format as possible, although exact formats vary with the kind and amount of information available. Taxon page information is also shared with the Encyclopedia of Life EOL
Literature references and links to published data sources are encouraged but not required. This differs from Wikipedia where references are required. However, details of sources of data, including references to personal observations, are noted where possible.
A major component of Antwiki are images and graphics. Antwiki uses two sources for images, those directly uploaded to Antwiki as well as those found in Mediawiki Commons. Copyright for each image remains with their owners and specific licensing terms for the use of images are provided and vary with each individual file. While Antwiki suggests the use of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike licence, this is not required and any licence can be used.
Antwiki is about more than just species. Being a wiki, there is no limit on the kind of information, and web pages, that can be developed. For example, local faunas can be documented with details ranging from a checklist of species to a full-blown faunal treatment including detailed overview, ecological notes and identification keys. And it’s not just about species. Ecological patterns can be presented, as well as notes on behaviour, phylogenetics and evolution, fossils and just about anything else related to ants. If it’s related to ants and you have information, you can make a place for it on Antwiki.
Data not managed by Antwiki
Antwiki does not manage specimens or detailed nomenclatural data (catalogues), but rather summarizes and reports them. Our approach is to let other systems manages these data items using systems specifically developed for this purpose. Antwiki can either link to these data sources or compile and format data and embed it in Antwiki pages.
Antwiki management and governance
Antwiki has a minimal management group. This group spends most of its time studying ants, not running Antwiki. The management philosophy is to set broad directions that support the widest user participation, making sure the Antwiki infrastructure is safe and secure, interacting with editors and anticipating future needs and opportunities. Our guiding aim is to provide a rich, flexible environment with a light editorial touch that lets experts get on contributing with what interests them.
However, Antwiki is not truly democratic and is not a slave of the published literature. While we will strive for consensus in cases of conflicting views or opinions, we will not formally undertake voting or necessarily side with the majority (apparent or otherwise). As a guiding principle, Antwiki will take a position that meets the needs of the broadest possible range of users, including both professional and casual users. Contradictory views are welcome on the appropriate discussion page(s) and these will not be removed as long as they are presented courteously and professionally.
For additional details see Antwiki:Governance.