[Taxacom] ICZN procedure question

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Sat Nov 13 06:09:56 CST 2010

From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
To: <dipteryx at freeler.nl>; <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>

>> So there is no "8.6 ...  it must contain a statement that copies
>> (in the form in which it is published) have been deposited in at
>> least 5 major publicly accessible libraries which are identified
>> by name in the work itself." ?
>> * * *
> I said:
> "Well, the Codes do not currently make such stipulations for paper-based
> copies"
> My inclusion of the qualifier "paper-based" was not accidental.

You said a great number of things, but that remark was not only beside
the point, but was not what I was responding to. (However, do see
Rec. 30A.2 in the botanical Code.)
* * *

>> I am not saying that is not an option, but it would be a much
>> bigger step than the one I suggested. It may well be that
>> the world is not ready for such a big step.

> I think you've hit the nail on the head.  But it's not the "world" -- it's
> a subset of the world, who represent the consituents served by the Codes.
> I doubt we'd find unanimous agreement on what the scope of that subset is.
> Taxonomists, to be sure.  But taxonomists are not the only consumers of
> scientific names.  Depending on how much the decisions are biased to serve
> one constituency over another, the "best" answer may vary.  Even if we
> limited t to just practicing taxonomists, we have a great diversity of
> viewpoints (as is evident from these ongoing discussions).

Yes, we are dealing with subsets. The majority view (the largest subset
of 'the world') would be in favor of eliminating the Codes altogether,
or putting it at a remove and just have Official Lists of Current Names
issued by a Respected National Taxonomic Agency, with all the finicky
stuff (taxonomic or nomenclatural) kept safely out of sight, behind the
scenes. In fact that is what is happening at a fairly large scale.

There is only a minute minority (a very small subset of 'the world')
who care about the process of amending the nomenclatural Codes.
Within this subset there is a justified degree of reservation when it
comes to change, very much preferring small, incremental changes
over big, bold steps.
* * *

> But I will say this:  having observed and particupated in this
> conversation for many years, the trend is clearly shifting over time
> towards pro-electronic.  I have some (mostly obvious) ideas about
> why this is.  I think the point made by Doug and Lyubo and others
> is correct: the transition from paper-based to electronic forms of
> communication *and* information archiving is inevitable.  What
> we're really arguing about now is: "Are we there yet?"; and, if not,
> then what's the best compromise approach when starting the
> transition?

Or perhaps, rather
"What can be made to work, with adequate safeguards?"


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