[Taxacom] a Standard for Taxonomic Verification Qualifiers

Robert K. Peet peet at unc.edu
Sun Jun 25 10:41:46 CDT 2006


If you are going to go through all the work of checking the determinations 
of the specimens in your collection, you should be sure to record in your 
database not just the names, but the taxonomic concepts (name as used by 
some authority).  For example, record not just Andropogon virginicus L., 
but Andropogon virginicus L. sec Radford et al 1968, or sec Godfrey & 
Wooten 1979, or sec FNA 2003, or sec Hitchcock & Chase 1950, or sec 
Bloomquest 1948, or sec Small 1933 --- they are all different concepts of 
A. virginicus L. with different sets of specimens circumscribed.

TDWG has adopted standards for concepts, and they are in the design plans 
for future releases of database systems associated with PLANTS, ITIS, 
GBIF, and SPECIFY.  They will soon impact you directly. If you don't do 
the determinations by concept now, you are likely to deeply regret it in a 
few years when you have to do the work over again.  Take a look at the 
county range maps on PLANTS for Andropogon virginicus kin in NC-SC and you 
will see the problem.  They have lots of dots for Andropogon virginicus, 
but these are not based on the concepts used by PLANTS, as evidence by 
such taxa as A. glaucopsis, A capillipes, A. glomeratus and A. gyrans 
being listed for NC-SC with no county records.  In short, we cannot trust 
any of those A. virginicus records in the maps because all these other 
taxa were lumped in by Radford et al, which is where the dots came from. 
If future determinations are made to concept, we will know where there are 
uncertainties, and where datasets (such as for maps) can be merged and 
where not.

Bob Peet

      Robert K. Peet, Professor & Chair         Phone:  919-962-6942
      Curriculum in Ecology, CB#3275            Fax:    919-962-6930
      University of North Carolina              Cell:   919-368-4971
      Chapel Hill, NC  27599-3275  USA          Email:  peet at unc.edu

On Fri, 16 Jun 2006, Ginzbarg, Steve wrote:

> At UNA we're are examining our AL specimens for the AL vascular plant
> checklist and atlas. When the current determination has been confirmed
> by herbarium staff, a pencil check mark is written on the collection or
> determination label. A check box in the record for the determination in
> our database is also checked. (We don't have the time to annotate all
> the specimens where we concur with the current det.) Material deemed
> inadequate to make a positive determination, e.g. a sterile specimen,
> does not receive a check and is not considered a voucher for the
> checklist and atlas. We have a program that displays the AL county
> records. If the determination of a specimen from a county has been
> confirmed by the staff of the institution where it is housed a black dot
> is shown in that county. I there is a specimen with a current det but
> the det has not been confirmed by staff it shows as a grey dot. If there
> were an element VerifiedByInstitution in DarwinCore ("Y" if the
> determination has been confirmed by the staff of the institution in
> which it is housed) we could supply GBIF with this information.
> Some institutions do not provide the most recent determination to GBIF
> but rather the most recent determination that the herbarium staff
> accepts (determined by an expert). While I personally would want to be
> very confident in my own determination before disagreeing with an
> expert, I would not want to judge which determinations UNA should
> provide to GBIF on the basis of name recognition of the determiner.
> Experts can make mistakes.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
>> taxacom2 at achapman.org
>> Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2006 5:26 PM
>> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Subject: [Taxacom] a Standard for Taxonomic Verification Qualifiers
>> I am currently examing the possibility of establishing a TDWG
>> Standard for Taxonomic Verification Qualifiers and am seeking
>> information from anyone currently using such qualifiers.  If
>> you are using one (or have suggestions for one), I would
>> appreciate a copy, which can be sent to me off-line.
>> Later, I hope that we can start a WIKI discussion on the tdwg
>> Web site (http://www.tdwg.org), and a presentation is
>> proposed for the TDWG meeting in St Louis in October.
>> I am currently aware of three standards that are in use (see
>> attached file):
>> 1. from Herbarium Information Standards and Protocols for the
>> Interchange of Data (HISPID) Vers. 3
>> 2. A similar one based on this and used by the Botanic
>> Gardens community International Transfer Format for Botanic
>> Gardens Plant Records (ITF) Vers. 2.0
>> 3. One used by the Australian National Fish Collection
>> In the Data Quality Document I prepared for GBIF lat year, I
>> suggested a two level standard that I would like to see some
>> discussion on. I believe that none are entirely suitable, and
>> possibly an incorporation of all four would be the best.
>> Chapman A.D. (2005). Principles of Data Quality. Report for
>> the Global Biodiversity Information Facility 2005. 61pp.
>> Copenhagen: GBIF.
>> The reasons for such a standard I see as
>> 1. The need for improved documentation of quality with the
>> increasing distribution of primary species data 2. The
>> introduction of privacy legislation in many countries that is
>> beginning to restrict the distribution of people's names,
>> including the names of determiners of specimens.  If we
>> cannot exchange the name of the determiner, we need some
>> other method to reliably document the confidence we have in
>> the identification.
>> I look forward to your responses.
>> regards
>> Arthur D. Chapman
>> Australian Biodiversity Information Services Toowoomba, Australia
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  Robert K. Peet, Professor              Phone:  919-962-6942
  Department of Biology, CB#3280         Fax:    919-962-6930
  University of North Carolina           Cell:   919-368-4971
  Chapel Hill, NC  27599-3280  USA       Email:  peet at unc.edu


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