[Taxacom] the hurdle for all biodiv informatics initiatives

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Feb 17 18:42:51 CST 2010

Stephen Thorpe wrote:

>And I still don't see why we need meaningless identifiers for names 
>(which are already identifiers for taxa)?

In *principle*, there should be one-to-many mapping (and, unless I'm 
mistaken, the informatics people intend it to work this way) - and, 
as such, it WOULD be useful. In Wolfgang's original example, that 
would mean all six of the known combinations used historically for 
Cyclotrachelus sodalis would have the SAME LSID; that way (for 
example), any hyperlinked text version of any of those six names 
would link to the same record in any particular taxon registry, even 
if different registries used different names (as might well be the 
case for a group such as butterflies, where multiple authorities may 
differ on generic placement).

This would help non-specialists make sense out of situations where a 
single taxon has appeared historically under a variety of names.

If, as in Wolfgang's example, a single taxon with multiple names 
(objectively speaking, as in "based unambiguously on the same type 
specimen," and not subjective synonymies) is being given multiple 
LSIDs on TOP of the multiple names, then - unless I have 
misunderstood the purpose of LSIDs - I think something is being done 
incorrectly. Seriously so. At first glance, I'd imagine that this 
kind of thing (multiplying 6 names into 18 LSIDs, like loaves and 
fishes) will only ADD to the confusion, not help resolve it.

Given that ubio seems to have generated the majority of the 18 LSIDs 
for C. sodalis, maybe someone like Rod Page can clarify what, 
exactly, is happening here - if it is indeed a problem, or if there's 
something that is not immediately evident that can make this all make 

I'll note that if one goes to the ubio site and enters 
"Cyclotrachelus sodalis" it generates only two hits, and one of those 
two hits is

Cyclotrachelus (Evarthrus) sodalis (LeConte, 1848)

- this is yet *another* LSID for the same taxon, not among the 18 
listed by Wolfgang!

Surely this is not how the system is supposed to work?


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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