Registration (was: TurboTaxonomy?)

B.J.Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Mon Aug 30 10:17:35 CDT 2004

At 22:20 29.8.2004 -1000, Richard Pyle wrote:
>> 2) Taxonomic judgement
>> On 26.08.04, Brian Tindall wrote:
>> >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).<
>> Since the Code deals with nomenclature, Article 79 of ICZN-4 does
>> not cover
>> the flagging of the taxonomic status of names and I suspect that we cannot
>> expect such things to happen in a Code-mandated registration
>> system. Was not, so
>> far, the mixing of nomenclature and taxonomy one of the main reasons for
>> dispute and reluctance to the Registration idea?
>In my view, the only Code-mandated part (if any) would be to register the
>establishment of the name (protologue, or original description) to the
>extent that it is demonstrably compliant with the Articles in the Code.

Well this is exactly what the bacteriological system does, and only that.
Neither I, nor the Code have suggested otherwise.

>However, that is not to say that a Registration system could not serve as
>the kernel for a larger system that kept track of name usages -- that is, an
>index of how names have been used in various References (published &
>unpublished) through history.  Such an index would serve as the primary
>source for who treated which names as valid, and who treated which names as
>junior synonyms of other names.  Another index layer could be applied on top
>of this Name-Reference index by what I would call "Meta-Authorities" (ITIS,
>SP2K, CoF, etc.).  Rather than each such Meta-Authority directly proclaiming
>which names are valid (in the Zoological sense) and which are synonyms, they
>could each pick one of the pre-existing Name-Reference instances that "got
>it right" in their respective views.  Yet another layer is the concept
>mapping stuff -- something along the lines of what the SEEK taxon group is
>trying to develop
>At the core we find the names.  Then there is a layer for how those names
>have historically been used.  Then there is a layer of opinions about which
>of those name-usages represent the "current usage" in the eyes of some
>authority.  Then there is a layer for how each name-usage maps to an actual
>scope of organisms living, recently dead, and yet-to-be-born.  Many things
>to index.  In my view, only the first, core layer should be intertwined with
>the Codes in the form of "Registration" -- but the registration system
>should be designed such that it can easily serve as the kernel for the
>higher layers of bio-nomenclatural indexing.

One develops from the other, sometimes to such an extent that such concepts
(those outside of the Codes) develop a life of their own and swamp the
original principle. The scope of Codes of Nomenclature remains
"nomenclature", which also extends to "registration" - in a pureply
nomenclatural context. In contrast ITIS, Species 2000, GBIF want valid =
correct = accepted names - which implies a taxonomic interpretation.

>> On the other side, I fully agree it would be highly desirable to have such
>> information included by reference to important publications.
>> However, don't you
>> think that producing such work is another task - not for a Code-mandated
>> R-thing but for the individual taxonomist or team of taxonomists?
>To re-cap the essentials of my diatribe above, I think the "R" word should
>only apply to the names -- but the system should anticipate and accommodate
>the needs of other efforts to index things outside the scope of Code
>mandate. (I know your comments are directed at Brian, but I can't help

Again, what the Bacteriological Code does - Wolfgang introduced the term
"taxonomic status"  - this is not in the Bacteriological Code. Perhaps the
"evil" aspect of "registration" stems from this type of misinterpretation,
or is it wishful thinking!?

>Richard L. Pyle, PhD
>Associate Zoologist & Natural Sciences Database Coordinator
>Bishop Museum
>1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
>Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
>email: deepreef at

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