[Taxacom] formation of zoological names with Mc, Mac, etc.

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Tue Sep 1 07:44:30 CDT 2009

you are doing such a great job in explaining all these things so 
accurately that also non-IT specialists can understand much 
better this sophisticated matter. Thank you for all that.

(surrogate keys)

> No human should ever see one (I am guilty of violating
> this in exposing ZooBank identifiers in human interfaces -- 
What you did was not uncommon. AnimalBase also shows surrogate key 
IDs (= numeral IDs), FishBase does the same. Sometimes it is useful 
to know the ID, because knowing it you can get information faster. We 
are living in a fast world.

> CERTAINLY, no human
> should ever type one into a computer (this applies to ZooBank
> identifiers, even when exposed to human eyeballs).
In many web interfaces you type the ID in the browser line and get a 
quick result. In FishBase there are fields where you enter the ID and 
get the result. Catalog of Fishes shows numeral IDs for references.

> I see the real advantage of a
> common/shared/global/ditributed GUID pool is that once the 
> database links are made *once*, they *NEVER* need to be made again.  

As I understand the problem, in some instances we have a situation in 
that one database wants to upload information to another database, 
information on zoological species. If they only need to do this once, 
and then never again, it would perhaps be uncomfortable if they would 
need to consult the common GUID pool. 

> but we have HUGE advantages in the long
> run if all new electronic datasets are automatically plugged into
> these GUIDs, and therefore automatically plugged into *every* other
> dataset that shares the same pool of GUIDs.

So for big databases maybe, somewhen in the near future when these 
services will be working. For small databases maybe not necessarily. 
If I have understood this properly now.

It seems to me that for interconnection projects involving small 
databases, a uniform spelling of Linnean names with lowest possible 
numbers of different variants could be more helpful, and careless 
treatment of spellings of zoological names would cause less damage 
in bigger databases?

> M'Intosh might be
> archaic but I'm sure there are still present day O'Connor, O'Shea,

Also D'Orbigny, D'Alton and other important French names.
The ' must be escaped, as Paul mentioned.
In AnimalBase we had to solve this problem too. I am surprised that 
this was overlooked in globalnames.


University of Goettingen, Germany

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