Museum Acronyms

Thomas Lammers lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
Thu Jul 25 08:51:26 CDT 2002

At 09:38 AM 7/25/02 -0400, you wrote:

>I think one of the problems with standardizing zoology is that we're more
>fragmented than botany.  Major museums generally have a single botany
>department, but many zoology departments.

True, but IH takes care of this with multiple acronyms: e.g., four for the
national museum in Paris: P for phanerogams, PC for cryptogams, PAT for
ethnobotany & biogeography, PCU for applied botany.  Or the historic
collections at Geneva, distinguished by hyphenated acronyms (G): Boissier
(G-BOIS), Delessert (G-DEL), de Candolle (G-DC), etc.  So you could have
AMNH-B[irds], AMNH-I[insects], AMNH-H[erps], etc.

If the community wants to have this lovely convenience, it CAN be
done.  Somebody just DO it, put it out there, and then everyone start using
it.  If you get up a committee, and wait for everyone to petition on the
basis of their pet coden and try to make everyone happy and be respectful
of tradition, you'll obviously get nowhere (that's where you are now).  If
your own institution gets changed, tough it out and go with it.  Many
botany acronyms no longer make sense (I was a grad student at ISTC, the
herbarium of the University of Northern Iowa) but we still use them.  As we
tell our students about binomials: it's just a moniker, it doesn't have to
MEAN anything.

Tom Lammers

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and biogeography
of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous

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