cesarmiento at YAHOO.COM
Fri Feb 4 12:30:56 CST 2005
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--- Richard Pyle <deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG> wrote:
> > 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
> This is a question I've thought about myself quite a
> bit, and I have the
> same concerns as you. The widest scope of "names"
> would be something
> roughly described as "text or symbols intended to
> represent organisms". A
> much more refined scope would be "names established
> in compliance with one
> of the major Codes of biological Nomenclature"
> (i.e., "Code-compliant,
> available names"). But between these two points is
> a large swath of
> fuzziness, without unambiguous demarcations (I
> define "unambiguous" here in
> a somewhat loose sense -- to the same degree that it
> is more or less
> "unambiguous" whether a name is Code-compliant;
> acknowledging that not all
> of the Codes are perfect, and examples in this realm
> involving ambiguity do
> Several parameters can be applied to individual
> "name" examples in this
> fuzzy zone: What character set is it represented
> in? What language? In what
> sort of context was it used? Is it a scientific
> name, or a vernacular name?
> The question is, if the scope of a database of
> "names" extends beyond the
> strict "Code-compliant, available names" realm (as I
> believe it should),
> then how does one define the "border zone"?
> Different projects draw lines
> at different places. I tend to draw the line based
> on the answer to these
> two questions: 1) Was it "intended" as a
> Linnean-style scientific name?; 2)
> Did it appear in a published work (as defined by the
> relevant Code)? Both
> of these questions can, in most cases, be answered
> with almost as little
> ambiguity as there is in determining whether a name
> is "Code-compliant".
> Names that exist only on a website (or personal
> communication), therefore,
> would not fall within the scope. Neither would
> names that appear only in
> "unpublished" (sensu Codes) documents. The most
> substantial grey zone for
> me is names that appear on specimen labels in major
> Museums that have been
> designated as "Types", but which never actually were
> published. A similar
> grey zone exists for "scientific" manuscripts that
> were never published.
> Clearly these names fall outside the scope as I
> defined it, but (especially
> for the specimen labels examples) they need to be
> tracked by the sorts of
> people would would be primary users of a universal
> scientific name index
> (i.e., museum curators and collections managers).
> There also exists a sometimes ambiguous distinction
> of whether the name is
> really a "different" name; or merely an alternate
> (intentional or not)
> spelling of an existing name?
> > Yes, checking names for Code-compliancy is a
> > 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
> > ICZN-4).
> I agree -- which is why I think there is a perfect
> opportunity to unite the
> broad-scope name indexing efforts (like uBio), with
> the more refined name
> indexing efforts (e.g., a prototype nomenclatural
> registration system for
> available names). The latter can be clearly
> recognized as a subset of the
> former, and both sorts of efforts would benefit if
> the underlying data base
> was the same.
Carlos E. Sarmiento-M.
Instituto de Ciencias Naturales
Universidad Nacional de Colombia
A. A. 52656, Bogota, Colombia
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