[Taxacom] HHDB: hemihomonyms

Pat LaFollette pat at lafollette.com
Sun Jan 17 15:08:32 CST 2010

The solution to the problem of appropriately indexing hemihomonyms 
lies squarely in the indexer's court.  (Its 250 years too late for a 
taxonomic solution.  That ship has already sailed.)

An automated solution is possible, however, for projects like BHL if 
not for Google.  It requires four coordinated steps.  (This would of 
course be a future refinement, once the dust of BHL's current 
"scanning phase" has settled and everyone's had a chance to catch 
their breath. But it would not be premature to start thinking about 
and making provision for its future implementation).

1) uBio's names database must accomodate the Code or Codes under 
which each generic name has been used.  This field can be populated 
initially by looking up the names in discipline specific 
nomenclators. (Various filters and some manual editing could then be 
applied to refine the results.) "0" (Undetermined / multiple) would 
be a valid value for Code. NameBank queries must return this information.

2) BHL needs to code their titles (volumes) as botanical, zoological, 
bacteriological, mixed, or not taxonomic.  This is not as big a task 
as it might seem as entire runs of journals are often exclusively 
botanical or zoological.  While at it, the works might also be coded 
by discipline: entomology, ornithology, malacology, etc.

3) The BHL NamePage index must include a field for recording 
Code.  If the Code returned by NameBank for a particular name is "0", 
it would be resolved first by checking the volume code.  If volume 
code is "mixed," then by checking other names on the same page. If 
resolved names on the page are all plants, for example, it would be a 
reasonable assumption that the undetermined name is also a plant and 
code it as such.  Experiment would be necessary to determine whether 
including preceding and following pages in the analysis would be 
helpful.  Some names would have Code left unresolved.

4) Finally, the BHL Advanced Search option will need to allow 
taxonomic searches to be restricted by Code, and whether unresolved 
names should be included or excluded.


At 07:26 AM 1/17/2010, Francisco Welter-Schultes wrote:
>If there would at least be a rule that from now on new genera shall not be
>established in one kingdom if the name was already established in another
>I have proposed such a modification for the next edition of the ICZN Code,
>but there has been no feedback. Seems that no zoologist has ever used
>botanical names or has ever worked with internet search engines.
>Taxacom Mailing List
>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either 
>of these methods:
>(1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
>Or (2) a Google search specified 
>as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here

Patrick I LaFollette
Research Associate in Malacology
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
pat at lafollette.com 

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