[Taxacom] globalnames?

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Wed Sep 16 18:32:49 CDT 2009

> Giving the poster a very quick male goose(!), two thoughts strike me:
> (1) Isn't this just a fancy way of saying that in order to 
> keep track of information about a (recognised) species, we 
> need to track its synonymy? Clearly, this has been done in 
> non-electronic taxonomic literature since its infancy!

No -- the problem that GNI is attacking is specific to digital information.
GNUB is effectively a way to track not just synonymies, but all usages of
names.  But GNI is about untangling the mess of text strings purported to
represent taxon names.  It's easy for a human to look at a taxon name
represented by 20 slightly different textual orthographies and resolve them
as the "same name" quickly and easily.  It's not quite so easy for a
computer to do this.  So to help the computers build links among electronic
biodiversity information, we need tools and services like this.  Ultimately,
the point is to reduce the time it used to take for a taxonomists to track
down an old publication, into the time it takes to click a mouse button.  We
all *know* the potential the internet has to make information important to
taxonomists (or anyone else interested in biodiversity) ENORMOUSLY more
accessible.  We also know that this potential is nowhere near being fully
realized yet.  Tools and services like GNI and GNUB are specifically
designed to help get us there.

> I guess I would like to see bioinformatics projects being 
> designed for the real world, with real world limitations and 
> problems ...

It sounds like all of us are in full agreement on this point, at least!


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