[Taxacom] the hurdle for all biodiv informatics initiatives

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Feb 23 22:48:35 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).

Whether one considers them part of the "name" or not (I do not) is not
relevant.  The bottom line is that these text strings exist "in the wild",
and the authorship stuff is often necessary for homonym and basionym

> 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,
> etc.)

Agreed!  But here's the tricky bit:  "....which could be linked...."  The
purpose of the GNI is to help build those links.  Once the links are there,
then the links are there.

> 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.

Again, agreed -- but not the point of my original message.

> 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'.

Right -- but services like GNI can help triage the problem, and dramatically
reduce the amount of hours humans spend doing the confirmations.

> 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... :)

No comment...

Bula Vinaka,

(In Fiji at the moment...)

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