Vernacular concepts

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at FREELER.NL
Thu Mar 3 19:06:10 CST 2005

From: Richard Pyle <deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG>
> A simple database design will create a big mess, but a good/robust
database design will record names in their usage context, thus effectively being (simplified):

> 1) cedar SEC. gardening center, 2005 = Cedrus atlantica SEC. van
Rijckevorsel, 2005
> 2) real cedar SEC. gardening center, 2005 = Cedrus libani SEC. van
Rijckevorsel, 2005
> 3) cedar SEC. architect, 2005 = Thuja plicata SEC. van Rijckevorsel, 2005
> 4) cedar SEC. cigar specialist, 2005 = Cedrela odorata SEC. van
Rijckevorsel, 2005
> 5) cedar SEC. hanger merchant, 2005 = Juniperus viriginiana SEC. van
Rijckevorsel, 2005

> [The "2005" is just a placeholder for the span of time in which these
various contexts made these various associations between a vernacular name
and a concept represented more tightly by a particular scietific name.]

> Current efforts to document this information are more restricted, in the
sense that they mostly focus only on Linnean-type names, and only on
publications (and additionally, in some cases, some form of unpublished
documentation).  I think what David Remsen is after, and I think what we
will eventually need to really make biodiversity information accessible, is
to accomodate names outside the Linnaean context (i.e., vernacular names),
and also accomodate "contexts" that extend beyond publications and certain
forms of unpublished documentation (e.g., "gardening center", "architect",
"cigar specialist" & "hanger merchant").

No doubt about it, if this is done right such a database will be invaluable.
However, as mentioned earlier it will take quite a bit of expertise, not to mention painstaking effort, to get it right. 

PS: Sorry about the delay (computer trouble).

More information about the Taxacom mailing list