[Taxacom] the hurdle for all biodiv informatics initiatives

Tony.Rees at csiro.au Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Mon Feb 22 05:10:38 CST 2010

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the responses. I'll just amplify one point:

>> - Is it possible to do a single query across multiple Scratchpads,
>> for a
>> taxon or taxon name of interest

(you replied:)
> I can't
imagine why you'd want to do that though.

Well, it mainly concerns names not previously encountered, homonyms, or near homonyms. For example in OBIS and GBIF (also many other specimen data integration activities) we frequently receive names associated with species level data for names we have not previously encountered - and we want to know what taxon they might be. If it's a known genus level homonym (let's say Ficus) we might need to check both an angiosperm database plus a gastropod one, looking for a match on species epithet, preferably as a machine level transaction (not a Google search). Or if it is a completely new name, just query across all sources. Or if the genus is misspelled (which happens quite a lot), know what names are out there that are close to the input name - again, could be in any taxonomic group and we probably want to see all options...

Currently my approach is to move all possible names into a single space for querying, but a distributed search would in principle be more efficient/up-to-date, and also permit the detection of newly arriving homonyms such as the example Stephen gave.

Regards - Tony

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