Biological Nomenclature and Taxonomy Data Standard (and ITIS

Hugh Wilson wilson at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Sat Sep 12 08:53:43 CDT 1998

The need to *use* the classification system as a base informatics
structure can be exemplified by a look at how the Asteraceae is
treated in the Herbarium Specimen Browser at:

This system expresses data contributed by member herbaria of the
Flora of Texas Consortium.  Names used are those used at each
contributing herbarium and this is a primary requirement, i.e., the
'authority' or independence of each cooperating unit must be
maintained and the data must reflect the nomenclatural 'position' of
those contributing information.  This, however, conflicts with the
need to provide data that is coherent from a biological point of
view.  For instance, a single biological entity is represented by
this system as two nomenclatural entities:  Arnoglossum plantagineum
Raf. and Cacalia plantaginea (Raf.) Shinners.  This presents an
obvious problem for users interested in this plant as a biological

The term 'offical' does not, in my view, enhance the prospect of
scientific cooperation, but standardization is essential.  Those
involved with the development of the 'Herbarium Specimen Browser' are
now working on computational or processing procedures that will allow
expression of multiple herbarium data sets according to single,
synonymized classification system and I think the best way to create
this system is through some form  consensus determination, perhaps
via computational polling during processing that acts to output data
according to the majority nomenclatural view.  This approach, while
difficult and complex, would allow each contributor to be 'engaged'
in formulation of the 'standard' and also create the foundation for a
'movable' standard in that curatorial changes at contributing
collections would be considered each time the data are updated.

On 11 Sep 98 at 20:25, Pelaez Goycochea Alejandro-FC

>    a) the system has to have one accepted or "official" list of names and
> the same for classification, but,
>    b) should include all the rest of the names and point of views about
> classification in a way enabling people to work with their own schema (and
> also to find equivalences) even if disagrees with the "official"  points
> of view.
> 5) Such system should be a distributed (international) enterprise.
> 6) I apologize for my bad english
> Alejandro Pelaez

Hugh D. Wilson
Texas A&M University - Biology
h-wilson at (409-845-3354)

More information about the Taxacom mailing list