critter names

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Thu Oct 11 09:01:21 CDT 2001


Ken Philip wrote:

> 3) With the use of computer files, the ability to sort by catalogue number
> is priceless. I have been inputting determined specimens of Alaskan moths
> into a database file for a couple of weeks now--and the specimens
> themselves
> are unsorted although they have determination labels from a number of moth
> specialists. I can keep a file in specimen-within-Schmitt-box order (which
> allows me to add additional information from any given specimen
> to the file
> at any time) and yet instantly produce a taxonomically-arranged list of
> species. I will also, later, be able to place these specimens into taxo-
> nomic order without having to keep referring back to the catalogue.

In this case, we are talking about two separate purposes.  I was referring
to what I *think* Doug's original point was - creating a unique "handle" or
identifier for each name that can be used in computerized authority files.
What you describe here is a number representing some sort of phylogenetic
sorting system, wherein the number actually conveys meaning.  In my opinion,
these numbers MUST be different numbers.  The primary key needs to be unique
and constant.  The sorting number can be more dynamic, and change as the
whims of taxonomists do.

Aloha,
Rich




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