[Taxacom] Definition of Checklist

Robin Leech releech at telusplanet.net
Tue Feb 12 14:09:28 CST 2008

To  come into this foray at a late date, I mention that Birders keep
checklists.  These are the birds that a birder has seen, and which he/she 
checks off
as each new bird is seen.
A birder's checklist is not necessarily for any one particular biological 
region.  An Alberta
birder, for example, will fly to Ontario or even Newfoundland to see a bird 
that has "blown
in" and which is some thousands of km off course.  Once the errant bird has 
been seen, the
checklist is marked.  So, to a birder, a checklist is a personal list, sort 
of an ego list.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Weitzman, Anna" <WEITZMAN at si.edu>
To: "Doug Yanega" <dyanega at ucr.edu>; <TAXACOM at MAILMAN.NHM.KU.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Definition of Checklist

> 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
> Botany).
> I'd be interested in other thoughts about that as well.
> Cheers,
> Anna
> -----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.
> Peace,
> -- 
> 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)
>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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