Mycoinfo to Sponsor Open-Source Database Project

Brian McNett brianmc at
Sat Feb 6 16:57:20 EST 1999

PO Box 16242
Austin, Texas 78761-6242

Friday February 5, 1999


Contact: Philip McIntosh <mailto:ndpmcintosh at>
Mycoinfo <>

Austin, Texas, USA. --  Mycoinfo, the world¹s first mycology e-journal, is
pleased to announce its sponsorship of Taxy, an open-source taxonomic
database project.

At the highest level, Taxy is a software project intended to provide useful
tools for identifying organisms. The initial area of focus for the project
is mushrooms. The project includes a database of fungal descriptions and an
engine designed to let the user quickly sift through those descriptions to
arrive at an accurate choice based on a mushroom they have collected. Once a
description has been selected the user can access a complete description of
the mushroom as well as notes that other users have entered about that
description. As the application matures, the focus can be expanded to
include all fungi and not just macromycetes.

Taxy is designed to be an open project and in particular it provides
mechanisms allowing users to extend the database. The importance of this
aspect is especially apparent in the fungal kingdom since current estimates
are that between 80% and 95% of fungi have yet to be described and named.
Taxy is intended to help with this gap in knowledge by providing a
repository for observations and literature on fungi. This will allow
unpublished and unknown species to be more easily classified. One of the
hopes for Taxy is that one day it will provide a way for mycologist to name
and publish new species of fungi. 

The first generation of Taxy was created as part of Nathan Wilson's masters
thesis in Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The
initial implementation of the database has a text-based interface that is
somewhat awkward. Work has begun on the next generation build of Taxy. The
primary focus will be an improved, graphical interface and significant
extensions to the number of descriptions in the database. 

The Taxy project is intended to be a large-scale collaborative effort
primarily supported through the donated time of interested users. The
software created as part of the project will always be freely distributed
through the Internet. Mycoinfo will be the resource organizing point for the
project. We invite software developers who are willing to donate their time
and energy to the challenging problem of designing an organismal
identification application for the most common computers and operating

An email newslist has been created to facilitate discussion and information
exchange between people involved in the project. Please subscribe by sending
a message to taxy-request at  Messages to the list should be sent
to taxy at This mailing list will be unmoderated unless the need

Versions of Taxy are available for Macintosh, IBM PC Clones, SGI
Workstations and Sun Workstations. They may be downloaded using anonymous
FTP from Nathan Wilson's website.

For more information, to join the Taxy mailing list, and to find links to
download current builds of Taxy, please visit the Taxy home page at

# Brian McNett
# Fungal Parataxonomy                Mycology Information (Mycoinfo)
# Webmaster, Staff Writer   **The World's First Mycology E-Journal**   
# <mailto:webmaster at>         <> 

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