[Taxacom] Definition of Checklist

Mark Costello markcost at gmail.com
Wed Feb 20 16:37:05 CST 2008


We debated the use of terms like checklist, inventory, and register when
compiling the European Register of Marine Species (now at
www.marinespecies.org). The general agreement was

Checklist - informal simple list for a particular purpose;
Inventory - more structured and comprehensive list, probably organised by a
taxonomic classification;
Register - an authoritative list, more formally approved (by a taxonomic
expert for example);

And all above may have a particular geographic context. 

To that list (!) one may add 
'Nomenclature' - a system that organises names and helps to apply the
correct names. 

I find it useful to use the Google function "Define: ...." when wondering
about the range of definitions for various words.

Cheers, 
Mark Costello. 

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Roger Hyam (TDWG)
Sent: Wednesday, 13 February 2008 11:35 p.m.
To: Daly, Doug
Cc: Thompson, Chris; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Definition of Checklist


What I don't think has been brought out clearly enough here is  
intention.

If I write a list of all the things I see in my garden then I have a  
checklist for my garden for 2008. This can be used as the basis of the  
2009 survey. Answering questions about change etc.

In 2008 the list has one purpose (to paint a picture of biodiversity  
of a location and possibly be used in a larger context).

In 2009 it is used as something I identify things to. When I see  
something in the garden I say "Does it belong to one of the taxa on  
the list?" I am effectively using it as a flora/fauna for the region.  
A definitive list of recognized taxa in my garden. It is the same list  
but now forms part of an identification protocol.

On a bigger scale I may use the BSBI list of British plants to  
identify things against but this is just the results of many years of  
surveys. When did it become a taxonomic monograph of all British  
plants? It metamorphosed from survey results to classification.

This, in microcosm, is the process of any taxonomic treatment I believe.

I think this is why we can't define what a checklist is. It changes  
its nature depending on the intention of the user. People will use the  
same list for different purposes.

It would be much clearer to use the term "classification" (or  
taxonomy) for the things we identify organisms to (i.e. a set of  
pigeon holes) and occurrence list for the results of a survey  
activity.  Drop the use of checklist all together.

Anyhow - just my thoughts.

Roger


-------------------------------------------------------------
Roger Hyam
Roger at BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
http://www.BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
-------------------------------------------------------------
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK
Tel: +44 131 552 7171 ext 3015
Fax: +44 131 248 2901
http://www.rbge.org.uk/
-------------------------------------------------------------




On 12 Feb 2008, at 23:15, Daly, Doug wrote:

> No offense, but I don't see the term "data-base" making anything
> clearer, considering how many kinds of d-bases there are out there,  
> and
> considering a checklist or catalogue or whatever is simply the  
> output of
> a data-base.  I agree with the need to define terms.  In practice in
> botany, among recent products I have seen, checklists tend to be  
> pretty
> stripped down, just lists of species without much additional
> information, whereas catalogues have more types of data associated  
> with
> each taxon (synonyms, habit, distribution, uses, etc.) and often  
> include
> exposition, i.e., a substantial amount of text.
> 	Best,
> 	Douglas Daly
>
> Douglas C. Daly, Ph.D.
>
> Director, Institute of Systematic Botany;
>
> B. A. Krukoff Curator of Amazonian Botany
>
> The New York Botanical Garden
>
>            tel.        718-817-8660
>
>            fax        718-817-8648
>
>            e-mail   ddaly at nybg.org
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Thompson,  
> Chris
> Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 1:58 PM
> To: David Remsen; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Definition of Checklist
>
> David:
>
> Times never change.
>
> Twenty years ago I answered that question in a short article. See
> Thompson, F. C. and L. Knutson 1987. Catalogues, checklists and  
> lists: A
> need for some definitions, new words, and ideas. Antenna 11:131-134
>
> This is available as a pdf document online at
> http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/Diptera/people/fctpubs.htm
>
> Our bottom line was abandon the terms checklist, catalog, etc. and use
> DATABASE. And that is why we call ourselves the BIOSYSTEMATIC DATABASE
> OF WORLD DIPTERA, etc.
>
> Unfortunately our colleagues still cling to the old terms and
> conflicting definitions.
>
> Oh, well ...
>
> F. Christian Thompson
> Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
> c/o Smithsonian Institution MRC-0169
> PO Box 37012
> Washington, D. C. 20013-7012
> (202) 382-1800 voice
> (202) 786-9422 fax
> www.diptera.org Diptera Website
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of David Remsen
> Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:20 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] Definition of Checklist
>
> Dear Taxacom-ers
>
> Can someone guide me with some terminology issues.  My problem is what
> appears to be a wide range of definitions for the term "checklist"  I
> am working to define a set of metadata elements that describe
> checklists as are provided to GBIF within the ECAT programme and these
> lists appear to have a wide range of contexts.
>
> At the simple end we have flat lists of species that fall within a
> regional or thematic context.  These may or may not have reference to
> a source taxonomic authority.   Some of these lists may group the
> species list within a classification hierarchy such as the IUCN
> redlist does.  Do these fall within a consensus definition of  
> checklist?
>
> A nomenclator may provide a list of taxon names that provide verified
> nomenclatural metadata but there is no assumed taxonomic component.
> Can such a list be referred to as a checklist?  Does it need
> additional qualifiers?
>
> A taxonomic checklist may be a flat list of verified species names.
> It may be organized within a classification.  There may be summarized
> synonymies or fully annotated taxon circumscriptions.  Is there some
> cutoff for what constitutes a checklist and what might be referred to
> by some other term?
>
> Apologies if these are well-worn questions.
>
> Thank you, David
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> David Remsen, Senior Programme Officer
> Electronic Catalog of Names of Known Organisms
> Global Biodiversity Information Facility Secretariat
> Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
> Tel: +45-35321472   Fax: +45-35321480
> Skype: dremsen
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
>
>
>
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