Registration (was: TurboTaxonomy?)

B.J.Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Thu Aug 26 07:58:14 CDT 2004

At 09:22 25.8.2004 -1000, Richard Pyle wrote:
>> These online databases will serve as a major
>> source for many
>> users of taxonomic names, so mistakes could even be
>> counter-productive in solving
>> the "names problem"... So I'm just wondering: do the Code
>> Commissions have an
>> official "contract" (incl. financial support) within the GBIF (and allied)
>> projects?
>Not to my knowledge.

I think GBIF wants lists of names from existing databases - if the various
organisations involved with co-ordinating the Codes do not have lists then
they aren't likely to be approached. The closest you are going to get to
direct involvement are the ICTV (the virologists, who have their own lists)
and the ICSP (bacteriology, where two of the lists currently available are
run by officers of the ICSP and in close contact with the ICSP). At a
meeting in January in Copenhagen I think only the ICTV (virology) and the
ICSP (bacteriology) seemed to be directly represented - both Codes do not
use the dreaded R-word, but operate an R-word system.

>> Is there a chance that the Code Commissions will be
>> strengthened in this process?
>In my view, ABSOLUTELY!  If I had time to Rant, I would go on and on about
>how the Codes of nomenclature, and the basic functions of the organizations
>that maintain them, have been GROSSLY under-appreciated by the biological
>community in general.  They are to the field of Taxonomy, what the field of
>taxonomy is to the rest of biology (i.e., highly neccessary, fundamentally
>crucial, and taken for granted).

In the case of names - which is primary concern to electronic databases -
the application of names is Code dependant. Trying to work out names,
dates, authors, publucation and type for all published taxa is one task -
the other is also flagging the status of a name (I don't think you can
avoid this). This means that a working knowledge of the Code becomes
important in order to maintain such lists. These names then provide access
to the data in databases and you may need to put that data into a wider
biological context, at which point an appreciation of systematics/taxonomy
takes on a new role. Well that is the theory at least........


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