This site and other Scratchpads to lose support in June 2024

UPDATE:  End of NHM support for Scratchpads like this one pushed back to June 30, 2024  to coincide with a new end-of-life date for Drupal 7.

The Natural History Museum in London which has offered free hosting for Scratchpads since their inception over twelve years ago announced last month that they will cease support for Scratchpads in September 2023, although sites will remain online in static form for an indefinite time thereafter. You will see no updates to this site after September 2023.

Scratchpads are built in Drupal 7 which is going end-of-life in November 2023. To update the sites to the latest version of Drupal, Drupal 10, would require a large investment of resources and personnel that the NHM is unable/unwilling to commit. To be honest, I understand their decision, as the project has had inadequate funding for years during which time it's been running on fumes. Most sites went moribund long ago during a period of several years where there was essentially no IT support and today there are only a handful of actively updated Scratchpads. I think if there were still 300+ of us as there were in Scratchpads' heydey, the case for continued support would be a lot stronger. The Scratchpad platform is 10+ years old and showing its age as web technology ages faster than dogs do. Alas nothing is forever, particularly in the realm of boom-and-bust "biodiversity online" initiatives.

Between now and then I am investigating options for migrating to a new platform along with other Scratchpad owners. There is unlikely to be a quick fix and so I anticipate even in the best-case scenario a period where updates will be suspended. But my hope is that a new and improved mormyrid site will one day rise from the ashes like an ichthyological phoenix.

If you are interested in helping with the project of taking the best of Scratchpads and migrating it to new platform (possible candidates are Drupal 10 development, BackDrop CMS, TaxonWorks/TaxonPage, or a Symbiota Portal) please get in touch. One idea for this particular Scratchpad is to seek funding to expand this concept to all weakly electric fishes (i.e. including gymnotiform fishes) and adding an EOD signal archive, platform TBD. We need help from many quarters to be successful. If you've got ideas for a successor to this site, or solutions that might work for other Scratchpad owners, as well, please get in touch.

I hope this site has been useful to you in your exploration of African weakly electric fishes and we will be able to build on what worked well here in a new, improved wrapper.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith