[Taxacom] globalnames?

Dean Pentcheff pentcheff at gmail.com
Mon Sep 21 13:03:37 CDT 2009

Can it be made to work, and work well? Yes: and IPNI is a wonderful
example of making it work extremely well.

Is using informative parts of data as part of their unique key
_always_ a good strategy? No, I don't think so. Not even usually. The
existence of a case where it has been made to work well doesn't imply
it's always a good idea.

I had no intention of implying that I thought IPNI didn't work well!

Dean Pentcheff
pentcheff at gmail.com

On Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 10:54 AM,  <dipteryx at freeler.nl> wrote:
> Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Dean Pentcheff
> Verzonden: ma 21-9-2009 19:18
>> On a side note, this discussion is a brilliant example of why
>> database geeks push hard to use "arbitrary" unique keys,
>> instead of concocting keys that include human-useful information.
>> What the botanical community has done (as I understand it) is
>> create a system of unique keys for taxonomic authors. The keys
>> take the form of a standardized (and unique) abbreviation for
>> every author. [...]
>> The data-nerd's approach would have been to use something like
>> "184746" for that Smith, and "736659" for the other Smith.
>> Sigh, you say. Ugly. Opaque.
>> The advantage to the standard-abbreviation system is that,
>> by using a human-readable abbreviation as the unique key,
>> the experienced reader is able to (in most cases) mentally
>> substitute the proper name intuitively.
>> The disadvantage is that it's just too close to colloquial usage
>> to be safe. [...]
> ***
> This concern looks unfounded: it actually works. See:
>  http://www.ipni.org/ipni/advAuthorSearch.do?find_forename=&find_surname=smith&find_abbreviation=&find_isoCountry=&output_format=normal&back_page=authorsearch&query_type=by_query
> (or go to http://www.ipni.org/ipni/authorsearchpage.do and type in
> "Smith" in the field "Author Surname").
> Paul
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