Synonymy format: computer conversion issue

Alan Eugene Davis adavis at NETPCI.COM
Sat Jun 27 10:22:01 CDT 1998

I am picking up some loose ends.    Please forgive my post if this is
unrelated to the interests of the list, or if it's out of touch with reality.
I've been out of touch for a number of years.  I am rambling along here---I
would like to find out whether there is a convention as to formatting of
synonymies, either as text or HTML.  In case you don't pick up on this, I
haven't a clue what I am talking about.  Please forgive me, and set me on the
right path.

Several years ago I worked on a SNOBOL4 program to convert a synonymy of
Micronesian corals into a lookup table.  All previous synonyms were indexed,
giving access to the current (at that time) disposition (current correct name).

SNOBOL4 is a string processing and pattern matching language.  There are other
languages that might be well suited, including Icon, perhaps others.  It read
the synonomy line by line and would then put out a list of various synonyms.
Family synonyms were recognized as such, for example, and as distinct, say,
from synyms for a genus.

The synonymy is a canonical example of structured text.  LaTeX, the
typesetting macro language, would be idea for printing such a list, and HTML
would be well suited, as well, for capturing the underlying structure of the
list (distinguishing entry types as "family" or "order" or "genus synonym",
for example.  A database could take example of LaTeX, for example, as a front
end.  A program such as the one I was working on could output the list as a
printed synonymy (suitable as camera ready copy), a prodromus of synonyms of
corals, with current disposition (I don't know why my professor was struck
cold by this idea---I found I needed such a list all the time), or an HTML
page (issed on demand).

I guess what I am asking is whether there exists any standard (and not one
relying on proprietary software) in place in the taxonomy/systematics world at
the current time?

Thank you for patiently reading this message.

Alan Davis

Alan E. Davis                       Marianas High School (Science Department)

AAA196, Box 10001    adavis at

Saipan, MP  96950    15.16oN 145.7oE    GMT+10       Northern Mariana Islands

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