[Taxacom] the hurdle for all biodiv informatics initiatives

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Mon Feb 22 23:02:21 CST 2010

This example is only a problem if you consider (Evarthrus) and the
various contractions of genus, author and date to be part of the name
(which IMO they aren't).

Removing these attributes (name metadata?) from what appears to be a
name string, there appears to be, on the surface, only one
Cyclotrachelus sodalis (as a name, as opposed to a named taxon
concept) which could be linked to a canonical nomenclator entry for
that name containing links to everything you could ever care to know
about that name (type specimen metadata, type image(s), protologue
bibliography metadata, protologue image, protologue transcription,


But that is not to say there may not be multiple concepts of what
constitutes Cyclotrachelus sodalis.  And this is IMO scientifically
more important than a non standard (and perhaps unstandardizable) name
and attribute string that a given author may have applied to the
concept in a particular publication, etc.

While it is an interesting exercise to try and automatically catch
each one of the 'possible variations', every one of them ultimately
will have to be assessed by a human.  Especially those that look like
'C. sodalis'.

In spite of an intent predating Linnaeus, names alone do not cut it
scientifically.  They do not give you the answer - they just point you
in several to many directions where the answer might be.  And that is
why we have biodiversity informatics - and biodiversity
informaticians.  Leaving open the question as to whether this is a
good or a bad thing... :)


On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 5:39 AM, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

> I meant that we wouldn't have
> to continue to deal with variations like this:
> Cyclotrachelus (Evarthrus) sodalis (LeConte)
> C. sodalis (LeC)
> ....and that's just a fraction of the possible variations!

Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point
of doubtful sanity.'
 - Robert Frost, poet (1874-1963)

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