[Taxacom] Definition of Checklist

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Tue Feb 12 12:30:20 CST 2008

Anna Weitzman wrote:

>7) Some contain synonymy (often partial, focusing on names that have
>been used within the defined geographic scope).  Synonymy may include
>vernacular names and may or may not include information about places of

Isn't this one of the primary features that distinguishes a checklist 
from a catalog? Maybe there's a formal definition somewhere (or not), 
but I'd thought that catalogs were circumscribed name lists that 
included a complete taxonomic/nomenclatural history of the names 
within. At the very least, it occurs to me that it is probably more 
clear-cut as to what is required for something to be a "catalog", 
leaving "checklist" to be defined essentially as NOT being a catalog. 
About the only things I can think of that are *essential* to a 
checklist are that it contains a list of recognizable scientific 
names, and that this list be complete within the taxonomic/geographic 
circumscription given (Anna's features 1 and 2, with 3 and 4 being 
implicit, rather than defining features). So, to my understanding, 
David's "simple end" example ("flat lists of species that fall within 
a regional or thematic context") would generally qualify as 
checklists as long as they are *complete* lists. A work like the 
"Nomina Insecta Nearctica" might qualify as a catalog, albeit as 
crude a catalog as is conceivable, as it gives ONLY synonymies and 
such. The question then is whether a catalog should be defined as 
MORE than just a list of names and their usage history.

I've never seen a publication that called itself a "nomenclator", so 
to me this is an abstract concept, and I find it hard to imagine how 
one would produce a nomenclator that was NOT also a checklist, unless 
one decided that a checklist - by definition - had a geographical 
circumscription where a nomenclator did not, and that "the world" was 
NOT a geographical circumscription.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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