[Taxacom] progress on globalnames.org

David Patterson dpatterson at eol.org
Tue May 12 10:45:52 CDT 2009


That kind of service is what we hope to see emerge as other agencies become
active within the expanded Global Names Architecture.  Recollect the
environment is not intended for humans to peruse, but rather to link
together information available at different places.   So, one might imagine
a query might be:

I have encountered this name
What are the available names for this taxon
What is deemed to be the correct name
What is the basionym

The answer requires a pipeline of web services, first to GNI to see if there
are any records of the name, then through an (as yet non-existent)
reconciliation service that maps that name to scientific names, vernacular
names, mis-spellings (recollect that the stuff you call problematic may have
high value for indexing purposes) that may have been applied to the same
concept.  A further member of the pipeline (presumably ZooBank) will
indicate which of the names are valid, and they (or CatalogofLife) might
report which valid name is deemed to be (taxonomically) correct, and back to
ZooBank for the basionym.

It may prove useful to give to Rich Pyle and the other nomenclators some use
case scenarios - such as the one you provided.

Expectation management:  How long before this all operational? Best to think

David Patterson

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of faunaplan at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 10:11 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] progress on globalnames.org

Dear All,
in its current beta stage, the globalnames database seems to be a summary of
major name compilers only, including all unreviewed problematic stuff.
Wouldn't it be helpful if we could see the progress and make out which names
have been reviewed? What about the following:

In order to flag a name that has been ascertained as an available name, we
(logged in as taxon experts?) could add a perfectly stable & unique string
pointing to a name's verified basis.
E.g., simple "anchor" strings composed of 'ZS-' (flagging a Zoological
Species-group name), followed by the Code-compliant spelling of the
basionym, and followed by the relevant subsequent generic combination (if

(names taken verbatim from globalnames.org, with verified "anchors" after
the pipe symbol):

Abax substriatus Leconte, 1848 | ZS-Feronia_substriata/Abax_substriatus

Cyclotrachelus substriata | ZS-Feronia_substriata/Cyclotrachelus_substriatus

Cyclotrachelus substriatus |

Feronia substriata LeConte 1848 | ZS-Feronia_substriata

Misspellings or incorrect epithet endings are not carried into the "anchor
string", and in case of? homonyms among anchors we can insert a precedence
number in order to make the string unambiguous, e.g. "(2)" flagging the name
as the junior of two homonyms. 

A strategy like this would be efficient because 
- only once we have to do it 
- would at least cross-reference many spelling variants and objective
synonyms that are now separately listed without explanation
- helps in spotting phantom names, misspellings, etc.
It will also make the next step easier, - that is resolving subjective
synonyms (and allowing for alternative classifications, when needed).

Best wishes,

Wolfgang Lorenz, Tutzing, Germany

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