Errors = phantom names on the Internet

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Tue Mar 28 10:10:43 CST 2006

I'd tend to favor David Remsen's solution.  I consider the web to be every
bit as "public" as any printed literature.  Mistakes that never leave the
confines of a single database can probably be deleted without much concern.
But for names that have shown up in such a public way, I think it's more
informative to annotate the erroneous record, then try to pretend that it
never existed.  I would say that any one of the web-based links would be
sufficient to come to this conclusion.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
> Behalf Of christian thompson
> Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 9:43 AM
> Subject: Errors = phantom names on the Internet
> We all make mistakes. And today an old one of mine was discovered
> by a colleague.
> I do not know how I did it or whether some one else on my team
> did it, but we created a phantom name. Pollenia pseudobscura
> Rognes, 1985. That was done back in the late 1980s when we were
> building the Nearctic Diptera Database. That dataset was passed
> along to ITIS via NODC in 1992. From ITIS the name passed to
> Species2000 and GBIF ECAT, and also to uBio. Today Knut Rognes
> called our attention to the error.
> My reaction was just to DELETE the bogus data record. It was a
> mistake. The name has never existed in the printed literature***.
> AND our record is clearly marked as a WORKING record, not
> peer-reviewed, not available for public use, etc.
> However, my colleague, David Remsen, has said we should annotate
> the name record and retain this error.
> So, I wonder what others think? Should we delete database errors?
> or leave them in with appropriate annotations?
> When thinking about that, I should note that I did GOOGLE this
> "phantom" name and got 10 hits. There was 1 for ITIS, a couple of
> uBio, but most interesting is the name is now in WikkiPedia under
> Pollenia as well as at the University of Michigan Animal
> Diversity Web site.
> *** the BDWD is interested only in indexing SCIENTIFIC
> nomenclature and since the International Code of Zoological
> Nomenclature remains largely restricted to PRINTed medium and the
> Internet is excluded, we do not index the Internet / WWW.
> F. Christian Thompson
> Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
> c/o Smithsonian Institution
> MRC-0169 NHB
> PO Box 37012
> Washington, DC 20013-7012
> (202) 382-1800 voice
> (202) 786-9422 FAX
> cthompso at e-mail
>  web site

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