Registration => two definitions (Registration = Indexing]

christian thompson cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Wed Feb 5 09:17:11 CST 2003

Thanks, Richard, again for your clarification of the different
definitions of registration.

Your first notion, that is, giving some kind of official status to a
circumscription / taxonomic hypothesis, etc., is what ITIS, Species2000,
etc., are all about. The whole purpose of ITIS was to give US Government
administrators an OFFICIAL taxonomy to underly legislation, like ESA
(endangered species act), CITIES, etc. Most scientists reject this idea
as a clear violation of the "freedom of taxonomic thought or actions."
However, it is a necessary evil.

The second notion, that is, giving some kind of official status to
names meeting a set of minimal requirement such as set out in various
codes of nomenclature, independent of the circumscription / taxonomic
hypothesis, is what at least the zoological code wanted to introduced
and, in part, DID introduce.

The draft code had the simple requirement that all names published
after x year had to be indexed by Zoological Record. That requirement
was rejected as unworkable as many zoologists feel that they should be
free to publish anything anywhere and it is the responsibility of others
to find out what they did and where they did it. I never understood that
attitude, but I can tell you it is real and getting worse. More private
journals are appearing now that anyone with a computer and laser printer
can create their own personal taxonomic publications.

As for existing names, the zoological code does now provide a mechanism
for registration (indexing). That is, the List of Available Names in
Zoology (Article 79). So if the fish community, for example, wants they
can propose that Bill's list be adopted by the ICZN, etc. Then the only
existing names that you would have to worry about are those on that
list.  I do not believe any group has yet to even thought about using
this new provision. Notice that the operative word is "Available" [which
I think in Botany is "legitimate" in the sense of validly published]

The key that you want is the separate the discussion about registering
"species" which is what ITIS, Species2000, GBIF, etc. are all talking
about VERSUS indexing mere "names,"  which some of us want to do before
getting involved in the other. [And to some it is building thesauri,
sorry David]

So, let try for REGISTRATION (of valid names) versus INDEXING
(available names)

F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
c/o Smithsonian Institution
MRC-0169 NHB
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso at e-mail  web site

>>> Richard Pyle <deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG> 02/04/03 05:03PM >>>
There seem to be two persistent and distinctly different notions of the
"Registration" in the context of taxonomic names that keep recurring on
list (and other discussion venues).  I would like to take this
to clarify this distinction, and request that only ONE of these
notions henceforth be associated with the "R" word, and the other adopt
other moniker.  I make this request in the interest of avoiding a lot
unnecessary argument between adversaries who don't realize that they
about different things.

One notion of "Registration" seems to involve the circumscription of a
taxon.  That is, when a name gets "Registered", the very act of
confers some sort of official "status" on the name.  I *think* this is
sort of Registration that Jim alludes to below, and if so, he and I are
agreement.  Any sort of effort to use "Registration" as a venue to in
way standardize taxonomic concepts, and assert "official" validity of
will ultimately meet with resistance, and failure.

The other notion of "Registration" is limited to only the registration
*names* -- without any baggage of taxonomic concept (i.e. validity)
tied to
it.  This is the sort of Registration that (I think) Doug Yanega has
proposed and described on this list, and is the sort of registration
that I
go along with.  The idea is to provide for a registry of taxonomic
such that basic details relevant to those names (original description
reference citation, primary type location, etc.) are freely and easily
available to all.  Such a registration system would not involve any
of "current" or "prevailing" usage, and any historical name that has
been established within the context of the relevant IC_N code could be
to the registry.  Names that are currently regarded as synonyms would
registered in exactly the same way as names that happen to be
regarded as valid.

It is the latter of these two notions of "Registration" that has my
I envision that future version(s) of the IC_N Codes or conglomerate
would require all subsequent NEW names proposed after 200X (or should I
20XX?) to be registered in order to be officially "available"; but that
previous names would be available for registration any time some
found the time and effort to do so.  Many of the older names could be
wholesale "registered" en masse from the various catalogs that have
been started (e.g., BIOSIS, IPNI, ITIS, Species2000, Catalog of
etc.), and other old names would be added to the registry as
uncovered them and determined their relevant details (primary type,
description citation details, etc...).

So please ... before the next debate about "Registration" begins ...
try to
be clear about which notion of "Registration" you are referring to
you explain why you either support it or reject it.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG]On Behalf Of
> Croft
> Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 11:04 AM
> Subject: Re: Status of the Biocode
> >Hi Jim: Tthe names in any {botanical] list start at 1753 -- but
> >is current, i.e the taxonomy of 2003 -- what am I misunderstanding?
> >McNeill
> and
>  > Yes, Jim, yet dates for such 'current use' vary from 1753
> onwards according
>  > to whether we are talking Angiospermae, Pteridophyta, Araneae,
>  > Animalia, Bacteria, Viruses, etc. The Biocode doesn't intend
> to change this
>  > but aims at unifying biological (binominal) nomenclature.  Thomas
> It wasn't a comment on the proposed biocode as such, which I think is
> good idea... one that I will probably never live to see...  it was a
> comment on lists of names in current use that seem to get swept along
> the biocode, along with approval, registration, acceptable taxonomy,
> centralization, control and all the rest of it...  I do not want to
> old names, concepts and and the information that may have been
attached to
> them, and for some I guess emotional reason I want to know what a
> was called when it was first recognized and to still be able to call
it by
> that name...  the priority principles of the current codes seem to be
> to provide some level  of that sort of predictability, comfort and
> security... :)
> jim
> ~ Jim Croft ~ jrc at ~ 02-62465500 ~ ~

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