Jacques Melot jacques.melot at ISHOLF.IS
Fri Aug 20 14:51:10 CDT 2004

  Le 20-08-2004, à 8:25 -0400, nous recevions de John Grehan :

>I for one think it's a bloody good idea if it has not been done already.
>It makes a lot of sense in that I see how convoluted the nomenclatural
>sittuation is with discussions on this list. It's not possible, unless
>one is totally devoted by time and inclination, to have instant recall
>on the code (any more than any other legislative item) and all its
>applications, not to mention all the ins and outs of different
>circumstances. On top of that, it would seem to me that every name ever
>out there could be included in a data base that would provide referent
>for any proposed names. Perhaps such a program would allow for regular
>updates throught the web in the same way with virus software. It seems
>to me to be such an 'obvious' approach that there must be some
>'obvioius' problem as to why it has not been done already if that is the
>case. In which case I will be interested to know the nature of such

    Le mot "obvious" est un signal de danger en science ! Si une chose
à laquelle des générations entières de spécialistes ont pu penser n'a
pas été suivie de réalisation, alors le sentiment qu'il s'agit de
quelque chose de "obvious" a toutes les chances d'être une Fata

    Jacques Melot

>John Grehan
>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On
>>  Behalf Of Richard Pyle
>>  Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 6:59 AM
>>  Subject: [TAXACOM] TurboTaxonomy?
>>  First, apologies for the cross-posting.
>>  I wonder if people on these lists could comment on the magnitude of
>>  "problem" (if it exists) of taxonomic descriptions published by
>>  who are not intimately familiar with the Codes of scientific
>>  and thus clutter the BioNomenSphere with unavailable names, or poorly
>>  documented taxa. Is this sort of thing relatively rare, or does it
>>  at a non-trivial level?
>>  Conversely, I was wondering if part of the "taxonomic impediment"
>>  be alleviated by making the process of naming new taxa easier for
>>  biologists
>>  who do not otherwise consider themselves taxonomists.  Would there be
>>  net
>>  improvement in the current situation by distributing the workload of
>>  naming
>>  new taxa to a broader population of researchers?  Or, would there be a
>>  more
>>  significant loss in the overall taxonomic situation by encouraging
>>  unqualified individuals to mess around in the taxonomic and
>>  world, and do more harm than good?
>>  The reason I ask these questions relate to a thought I had while
>>  off to sleep last night.  I beg for your indulgence:
>>  Anyone in the U.S. who has used the software program "TurboTax" to
>>  them
>>  to file their income taxes with the IRS has probably been impressed
>>  how
>>  the program cuts through the obtuse and often unintelligible U.S.
>>  Tax Code, and presents the user with a series of straight-forward and
>>  easy-to-understand questions, and thereby walk the user through the
>>  process
>>  of filing tax returns.  There are features that allow, with a single
>>  mouse-click, access to a clear and readable interpretation of the Tax
>>  Code,
>>  with good explanations of how to comply with the Code, etc.
>>  The thought I had was whether an analogous tool might be useful for
>>  Taxonomy.  Rather than walking the user through the process of filing
>>  taxes
>>  in accordance with the U.S. Tax Code, the tool would walk the
>>  through the process of describing a new taxon in accordance with the
>>  relevant Code of Nomenclature. It would include straight-forward
>>  to the user to ensure that all relevant Articles of the Code are
>>  with, with links to elaborated descriptions and interpretations of
>>  article, example cases, etc. It would essentially walk the user
>>  the
>>  process of describing a new taxon, perhaps with an embedded Latin
>  > dictionary
>>  and grammar checker to help with forming a good name, links to lists
>>  existing taxa to avoid accidental creation of homonyms, information
>>  how to properly designate and deposit type specimens, a guide to
>>  acceptable
>>  published works, hyperlinked glossary, etc. (a long stream of ideas
>>  features come to mind).
>>  My main question to these lists is whether such a tool would really
>>  things much, or would it be of limited value (or even potentially make
>>  things worse)?  Seasoned taxonomists probably wouldn't have much use
>>  it
>>  (in the same way that professional corporate tax advisors probably
>>  use
>>  TurboTax much), but students and "semi-taxonomists" would probably
>find it
>>  very useful.
>>  Is this a dead-end idea, or something perhaps worth thinking about
>>  more?
>>  Aloha,
>>  Rich
>>  Richard L. Pyle, PhD
>>  Natural Sciences Database Coordinator, Bishop Museum
>>  1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
>>  Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
>>  email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
>>  http://www.bishopmuseum.org/bishop/HBS/pylerichard.html

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