[Taxacom] source of quote about keys: PS

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Tue Sep 1 00:40:13 CDT 2009

my fault - I tend to avoid specialised conventional terminology (=jargon) when I'm actually trying to explain something! Yes, it is the old distinction between natural and artificial keys. Systematists typically want natural keys, end users want artificial keys, not because of their artificiality, but because they want to use more "convenient" (=practical=easy) characters ...

From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Pyle [deepreef at bishopmuseum.org]
Sent: Tuesday, 1 September 2009 5:28 p.m.
To: 'Frederick W. Schueler'
Cc: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] source of quote about keys: PS

> * or to phrase it a little differently, case 1 is what used
> to be called a "natural key,"

YIKES!  Two concurrent threads, and we've already hit on a homonym!

I can't tell you how much further the biodiversity informatics community
would be if only we weren't "separated by a common language" (another old
quote that would probably be hard to track to its origin -- just to tie it
back into this thread).  Ask a computer programmer and a taxonomist the
definitions of these words, and you'll get some amazingly disparate answers:

Natural Key


(*Actually, ask any two *taxonomists* to define "name", and you'll likely
get amazingly disparate answers...)


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