parsing taxonomic rank

Robert A. (Bob) Morris ram at CS.UMB.EDU
Mon Jun 25 22:00:52 CDT 2001


Looking forward to your talk Wednesday in London. I'm on the program
too. You can see what we do at Some of the
demos there are broken as they are lonely for the three out of four of
my grad students who left in May. The main Electronic Field Guide
linked there is stabilized in its character-by-state form but the real
end-user interest is in a visual key which I hope we will have
resuscitated by Wednesday. The software interest in the entire system
comes from they way in which we use XML under the hood.
We're such XML enthusiasts that we wrote XML gateways to USDA Plants
and the Smithsonian MSW db's just to show it could be done...

christian thompson writes:
 > Date:         Mon, 25 Jun 2001 09:27:05 -0400
 > From: christian thompson <cthompson at>
 > To: TAXACOM at
 > Subject:      Re: parsing taxonomic rank
 > At 06:52 PM 6/22/01 -0400, you wrote:
 > >If I wish to have a good chance developing rules for the machine
 > >generation of the taxonomic rank of a taxon name based on Latin
 > >grammar or other formal principles, should I be reading a textbook or
 > >just ICZN and <whatever> for plants. If a textbook, which one?
 > Like the Botanical Code, the ICZN also controls the endings of FAMILY-GROUP
 > names (Superfamily (-oidea), Family (-idae), subfamily (-inae), tribe (-ini)
 > and subtribe (-ina). (see Art. 29.2)
 > Higher categories have not standard endings.  AND beware, genus-group and
 > specie-group names can also have the SAME ENDINGS, for example, Xylotina or
 > Ranoidea, are valid generic names; Collocalia terrareginae is a valid
 > species gorup name.  Because of this, one CAN NOT write a parsing algorithm
 > for zoological names.
 > While an effort was made by some to make the new Edition of the ICZN more
 > emendable to computerization, etc., the conservatives rejected the proposed
 > changes.
 > Oh, well ...
 > F. Christian Thompson
 > Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
 > Smithsonian Institution
 > Washington, D. C. 20560-0169
 > (202) 382-1800 voice
 > (202) 786-9422 FAX
 > cthompso at
 > visit our Diptera site at

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