[Taxacom] Definition of Checklist

Weitzman, Anna WEITZMAN at si.edu
Tue Feb 12 13:15:56 CST 2008

Hi Doug,
I had forgotten about the use of Catalog/Catalogue for similar works.  

I'm not sure I've ever considered that there is a difference between a
checklist and a catalogue (at least not in practice, or at least not in

I'd be interested in other thoughts about that as well.


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega
Sent: Tuesday, 12 February 2008 1:30 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Definition of Checklist

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

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