Taxonomic index, anyone?

Steve at Steve at
Mon Feb 24 11:46:43 CST 1997

For an example of a taxonomic/nomenclatoral database designed for zoology,
see the Platypus web site at

Platypus manages the data used to produce the Zoological Catalogue of
Australia series.  The series currently has 16 published volumes (covering
about 32,000 species) with another 11 volumes (ca. 20,000 species) in
preparation.  The total series will run to 90 volumes covering several
hundred thousand species.

Platypus is designed to capture information across all zoological groups.
Information managed includes:

* classification
* valid/accepted names
* available/trivial names
* authority/original citation of names
* type species including method of fixation for genus group names
* type data for species group names
* current status of available names including citations supporting its status
* common names
* distribution (as ranges, not point data)
* ecological keywords
* unlimited citations associated with a valid name, including comments on
the citation

In total over 100 data items are recorded for the names in the database.

Platypus was developed as a Windows application and uses standard Windows
conventions such as pick lists, tabs and drag-and-drop.  This hides much of
the complexity of collecting and managing nomenclatoral information.  For
example, the classification window contains all names in the database and
allows modification of the classification through drag-and-drop.  As far as
possible, all data is validated on entry to ensure the highest possible
quality.  As an example, if a species was established using syntypes,
entering less than 2 specimens as type material will result in an error
message (because if a single specimen is involved it is, by definition, a

For further details, see the web site for an overview or to download a
demonstration copy (a fully-functional copy limited to 50 taxa and/or 50

Steve Shattuck
Australian National Insect Collection
CSIRO Entomology
P. O. Box 1700
Canberra, ACT  2601, Australia
phone (06) 246-4273, fax (06) 246-4264
steves at

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