Botanical Author Names

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Fri Nov 19 08:19:37 CST 1993

Ken Hill writes:

> "science of nomenclature" ????

yes - it is a bit of an oxymoron - sort of like using 'taxonomy'
and 'science' in the same sentence - most taxonomy is really a work
of art ;-)

[ ...rivetting nomenclatural scientific stuff deleted... ]

> This merely demonstrates that there are many possible permutations in
> nomenclatural citations, and that generalisation is sometimes difficult. There
> is also value in consulting primary sources rather than databased summaries.

Ken is absolutely right in this last point.  Those of us involved in
designing, constructing and using biological databases (and isn't that
everyone) should never lose sight of the fact that these are only a
reflection of some other verifiable (or refutable) reality.  You can
polish and tweak your data until it is squeaky clean, but it is still
only a controlled interpretation of what is really there.

Recalls a conversation with one of Arthur Chapmans's environmental
modelling colleagues on the importance of basing decicions on quality
data:  "DATA?  What do you need raw data for?  We have MODELS!  We can
generate all the data you need!"


[ps. Welcome Ken and colleagues at RBG Sydney and Herbarium NSW to
taxacom and the Internet - don't let anyone get away with anything, and
take no prisoners!]
Jim Croft           [Herbarium CBG]               internet: jrc at

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