Citation of authorities

Doug Yanega dyanega at DENR1.IGIS.UIUC.EDU
Tue Nov 5 12:48:40 CST 1996

Mary Barkworth wrote:
> Authors, even taxonomists, usually
> do not read the articles containing the scientific names used in the
> article, let alone examine the type specimen involved, thus it would be
> inappropriate to include such references in the list at the back
> (revisionary taxonomic papers are an exception).

I'd have to agree with this, as well - perhaps even in revisionary
papers. If an author has not seen a reference, it is misleading for them
to include it in the bibliography, as *well* as in any list of synonymies
or such they may include in the text. If I were to find a beetle species
described by Casey which turned out to be a synonym of Liopinus alpha
(Say), and decided to list ALL of the known synonymies and references, I
would have to contend with a three-page list of synonymies established by
Linsley & Chemsak just recently. Frankly, this does not strike me as
being useful, especially given that my only aim might be to add that one
more name to the list of synonyms; if I planned to evaluate each and
every one of the synonymies listed by Linsley & Chemsak, on the other
hand, *then* I would cite each one that I personally examined and
corroborated. For me to do otherwise, by simply copying the list, would
imply that I supported Linsley & Chemsak's decisions, when the reality
might be that I would disagree with many of them on closer analysis. It
all depends on how detailed one's revision is, and then the matter is one
of how thoroughly one is doing one's job, which is a different issue from
how careful one is about making a bibliography.

> I would agree with the suggestion that I read on the Web - but negelected to
> note the author - that in most instances, it is far more pertinent for the
> author to cite the name of the flora(s) or other papers that were used in
> identifying the plants worked with.

This is a suggestion I wholeheartedly support, especially in light of our
recent discussion of judging an identifiers' credentials!

> And, putting my money where my mouth is, there is now a field on our label
> program for noting this information and, when we have overcome some
> technical difficulties, there will be a field for such information in the
> database at UTC.

Another excellent idea which should indeed be standard practice in
databasing, same as listing original label data and post facto
*corrected* label data separately (both cases deal in effect with
specifying or discriminating between sources of information). Similarly,
the databases I helped design in Illinois list ALL identifications
rendered over the years for a particular specimen, their dates, and
authorities responsible - adding a related field for reference source of
ID would be feasible and ultimately desirable.

Doug Yanega
UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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