The international community of Systematic Botany is in the process of entering a networked, digital environment that, after initial development over the past 5 years, will dominate all aspects of scientific activity in the future. Emerging new technologies are transforming the Internet into a global neural network that presents Systematic Botany, and Science in general, with future prospects that include remarkable opportunity and significant challenge. The products of Systematic Botany, previously generated locally as static, hardcopy documents, can now be presented as collaborative enterprises from distributed centers as high-content, dynamic data resources that are constantly updated and refined. In addition, these products can be made available to a global user community in multiple forms that can be targeted for different user groups. The emerging Internet standard of 'usage equals value' could place the products of Systematic Botany in a position to draw public interest, usage, and - most importantly - support. However, opportunities inherent in the coming 'digital transition' will not be realized if traditional, hardcopy-based, perspectives on collaboration, peer review, publication and 'ownership' are retained. Scientific communities that are able to recognize new potentials and respond by establishing appropriate interactive protocols will enhance and advance their discipline in this new environment. They will also work to insure, via interaction and content review by professionals, that information available to the public is of the highest scientific quality.

Key words: bioinformatics, digital, informatics, internet, systematics, taxonomy