More GBIF questions (was: ITIS)

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at FREELER.NL
Tue Jun 22 22:29:36 CDT 2004

> Wolfgang Lorenz wrote:

> >On a side note, two questions:
1.) Obviously, since the Rio Convention there have been increased efforts
(GBIF, Species2000, UBIO, etc.) to address and solve the 'names problem'
(part of the 'taxonomic impediment'), but it seems to me that the logic
central role of the Codes (IZCN, ICBN, etc.) has received too little
attention, so far.
In Coleoptera Carabidae, I have to deal with more than 60.000 names (without
counting secondary generic combinations) for 34.000 species, and I
encountered more than 1000 names problems that cannot be settled on the
basis of the current ICZN Code (4th ed.). Obviously there is an urgent need
for several important amendments in details of the Code (see also recent
discussions on the ICZN-list).

+ + +
I think I missed what the "ICZN-list" is?
+ + +

From: Meredith Lane <mlane at GBIF.ORG>
> It seems to me that we need to clarify a little more closely that there
are really two classes of "names problems" :
1)  Those that arise from nomenclatural practice as governed (or not) by
the Codes -- such as those you describe for your carabids.
2)  Those that arise because of transcription errors of one sort or
another (e.g. taxonomist who named it got the orthography wrong, person
who ID'ed a specimen spelled the name wrong, person who entered specimen
data into a database committed a typo).

+ + +
I have never seen "name problems" divided into those two classes. It is more
usual to divide them into:
1) taxonomic problems ("This species belongs into what genus?" and perhaps
"This name has an insufficient diagnosis and supporting material to place
it. Is it a separate species at all?")
2) nomenclatural problems (like, rediscovered old names threatening
established names; also, the question to correct or not to correct the
taxonomist who named it but got the orthography wrong)

Besides that there are various problems such as "unpublished names" in
current use and indeed transcription errors.
+ + +

> Fixing the Codes won't take care of class 2

+ + +
In some cases it will
+ + +

>, but it is *many* of those
that ITIS, Species2000 and GBIF have to deal with, in addition to the
confusions occasioned by class 1. Gradually, as those working on GSDs
(global species databases) for various groups of organisms complete
their work, much of the name-clutter will be cleaned up. [...]

> GBIF would be pleased to talk with the Commissions about ways that its
Electronic Catalogue of Names of Known Organisms (ECAT) could be
utilized in innovative ways to speed up the process of sorting out
nomenclature, and perhaps even eliminating the future generation of

+ + +
The ICZN is put together by a Commission, but the ICBN is "amended" by a
more complex procedure, as is (I think) the Bacterial Code. Using databases
"in innovative ways to speed up the process of sorting out [the]
nomenclature" sounds promising, but who is to do this?

Paul van Rijckevorsel
Utrecht, NL

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