cultural change

B.J.Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Fri May 31 20:05:46 CDT 2002

At 13:42 31.5.2002 +0200, Michael Schmitt wrote:
>Dear colleagues,
>just a short note on Bernard Landry's posting of today and Doug Yanega's
>previous one.
>I am very much in favour of electronic communication. However, as I see the
>rapid change in technology, I strongly argue in favour of the traditional
>method (ink on paper) for the valid publication of taxon names. The news
>may and should be spread electronically, but merely in addition, not as the
>primary means.
Exactly, the problem is not that electronic publishing is not here to stay,
but that the technology may change and cause problems for older formats -
yes we have discussed that too, but printing and electronic format seems a
wise and cautious compromise.

>Concerning registration of names, I clearly second Doug Yanega's view: In
>the long run, registration of new names is unavoidable (in my opinion).
>Thus, we should not waste more time with arguing but start preparation
>right now. This means, we, the taxonomists, are challenged to work out
>procedures and standards for registration and to establish a body of
>persons and/or institutions who are enabled and entitled to do or at least
>supervise this process.

Yes, the main point is that taxonomists have to plan a system as they want
it to fit their purposes and certainly not wait for someone to force on
them a system which is not suitable. Like it or not there are lists
appearing on the Internet, so there will be some form of "inofficial
collecting of names" anyway, so perhaps the taxonomic community should give
such initiatives a helping hand and do it properly.  The system in use in
bacteriology is rather small scale (perhaps 2-300 hundred names per year),
but it has been running for 20 years and we know where problems have
arisen. Of course such a system may not be suitable for botany or zoology,
but it doesn't hurt to take a look....

If it turns our that the International Commission
>on Zoological Nomenclature has neither the financial background nor the
>personal resources to do it, we should either seek for ways to improve that
>state or look for alternative ways to guarantee the standards set and the
>effectivity of the procedures chosen.
>                                          Best regards
>                                         Michael Schmitt

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