names vs. "names"

Nico Mario Franz nmf2 at CORNELL.EDU
Wed Feb 9 15:27:12 CST 2005

Hi Rich:

   This project of comprehensive name lists is critical, but it's not
necessarily "taxonomic blinders" that might make someone consider it
secondary to others. What you're describing is perhaps better named
"first bibliographical impediment." There are new forms of
collaboration evolving among taxonomists, dababase experts, indexing
services, special search engine creators, etc. Some individuals work in
multiple domains and have multiple perspectives.

   I still think that achieving comprehensive name lists is a great
primary goal for certain groups of players (like uBio). But I am not
convinced that this is the most pressing issue for Taxonomy to secure
its place in the future among other biological sciences. To the extent
that taxonomists are needed in getting the names complete and right
enough, they are also justified in looking out for themselves in the
process. Taxonomy's genuine impediments have to do with things other
than just incomplete or erroneous databases.


Rich Pyle wrote:

"*EXACTLY* Now...imagine a world where ALL the names (bogus and otherwise)
are indexed somewhere. And imagine that the folks at Google are plugged
into that index (not unreasonable, given the recent development of In that world, a single search on Google will yield
links to all the relevant information about a taxon, regardless of how
incorrect the taxon name had been. Moreover, the search of a bogus name
will provide the searcher with a correction (i.e., "Did you mean 'Aus

We can't get there without an index that maps the bogus names to the good
names. And we can't build such an index without first having a list of the
bogus names."

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