Authority lists

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Tue Feb 5 09:16:59 CST 2002

Gail Kampmeier wrote:

>As someone working with databases and bemoaning the fact that the
>entomologists are not as organized as the botanists with regards to
>authority lists, I would beg to differ with Robin.  You cannot assume that
>someone describes only one type of organism and ferreting out differences
>between one person and another when names are represented in several
different ways (not including misspellings!) is a royal pain.

Some of these variants are substantial, especially from a computer's
standpoint. One author appears variously as "Castelneau" or "Laporte"
- that one is obviously confusing - but the difference between
"Serville" and "Audinet-Serville" or "Schoenherr" and "Schönherr" or
"Nyartschuk" and "Nyartchuk" might not confuse a person, but just try
asking your computer to find such things and correct them...*without*
you having to discover and specify *in advance* which names are
variants. This is a major reason we need comprehensive authority
files (and why assigning arbitrary taxon code numbers to every
validly published name would be helpful, as we've argued here
before). We all have enough trouble doing our work without also
having to become amateur detectives every time we need a taxon name.

as an aside, Robin Leech wrote:

>Another related issue is the use of just the first letter of your last name.
>The only person, especially with the initial 'L', who is given this
>privilege is Linnaeus.

You're forgetting "F."


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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