names vs. "names" (was: Names for BioDiv Informatics)

Faunaplan at AOL.COM Faunaplan at AOL.COM
Fri Feb 4 08:48:05 CST 2005

Many thanks
for off- and on-list responses in the previous thread. Several listmembers
have pointed me to existing websites and projects and I think we are at a stage
where the task is understood by many and a fascinating competition of ideas
and solutions is apace.

Just let me pick up one point again (underlining Rich's words):
In my opinion, the distinction between names and "names" should be seen as an
essential one in biodiv informatics.
The official bacteria & viruses list with registration system is an admirable
example how this problem can be addressed, but for scientific names of
animals it is - and will probably be for some time - a work in progress. The
Zoological Record does not flag unavailable names, so far,  - and with ICZN-4 it has
become even more time-consuming for the individual user to do that work.
We do not even have a complete list of available generic names, which could
facilitate the task of finding free names for the "rest" of several million yet
unknown taxa. In my mind, genus-group names, the current focus of the uBio
names project, are a good example why it is so important to distinguish names
and "names".

Unavailable names are, in addition, a wide field with unclear border zone.
E.g., in the first editions of websites sponsored by GBIF seed money I found
several "new" misspellings of names that did not occur before (Togonus instead
of Pogonus, etc). Such errors will probably disappear when specialists review
the content. But the question is:
do such names have to be indexed/ tracked in names databanks? If yes I fear
the internet will be a generator for some more thousands of avoidable "names".
Or, does it make sense to give some sort of "beta version status" to  GBIF
contributions untill they are reviewed?

Yes, checking names for Code-compliancy is a time-consuming process but not
necessarily slow if support is given to those you are doing the job. Even if it
has to be a work in progress, for some time, I think that names and "names"
should be  flagged whereever such information is available, - not forgetting
the new options for partial Lists of Available Names in Zoology (Art.79 of

Best wishes,
Wolfgang Lorenz
Buero/ Verlag fuer Faunistik und Umweltplanung
Hoermannstr. 4
D-82327 Tutzing

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