specimens examined lists, again
peterr at VIOLET.BERKELEY.EDU
Thu Aug 3 09:44:04 CDT 1995
>Date: Thu, 3 Aug 1995 09:24:24 EDT
>From: Robin Panza <panzar at CLPGH.ORG>
>Gary Noonan pointed out that, for entomologists, listing can be impractical
>because of the lack of individual ID numbers on so many specimens.
Gotta start someday, somewhere. (Fortunately, some museums/collections
have started. Otherwise, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
>and other entomologists could follow the practice I've seen in ornithological
>papers, of listing localities and quantities, rather than individual specimen
Yes, this has been done often. The issue is whether or not there is
adequate _documentation_, _somewhere_, of what material was actually
eg: COLUMBIA: Sautata, 3m/3f; Jaraquiel, 1m/5f. PANAMA:
Hmmmm, that brings up the whole separate, important, issue of community-wide
authority control mechanisms ("authority files"), for all sorts of
things of importance to collection-based data and studies, including
names, and for places like colUmbia. Lots of people are using controlled
vocabularies, some even use national/international standard references
as the sources, but there's still a long way to go with authority control
if collection information sharing/combining/use is going to become a norm.
>Certainly, it would be nice to have in hand the ID numbers to be able
>to request the same individuals for another study, but, as Noonan has
More than nice!
>pointed out, that can be impractical, from his standpoint as well as
>the amount of space (on paper or electronically)
Hardly an issue, even for insects.
>and time (to type up, in either medium).
Definitely an issue, but not impractical --only poorly addressed still
by many (but not all are detractors).
>At least, using the above notation, others can
>judge (a) whether your sample sizes are believable, and (b) whether the
>geographic distribution of samples is believable.
How? Without re-examining the specimens, you really _are_ relying strongly
on a _belief_ system, and are relying precisely on the data that you wish
>With the above
>information, I can always write to the author and ask for more
>information about some of the specimens, if I want to examine them.
Perhaps, but often not likely, if those specimens are not individually
locatable. Which specimens will you be asking about? Where _is_ Gary
anyway? Ohh...(sigh) Anybody know which specimens Gary studied?
With apologies to Gary,
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