[Taxacom] Sherborn & literature code challenge

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Fri Sep 2 13:46:25 CDT 2011

extracting names from original sources must be done manually. This is 
a tremendous work, you can hardly imagine how much time this costs. 
We decided to proceed in the timeline from 1757 onwards and finally 
reached the 1790s, after about 15 years of work (total of all team 
members). In this time we extracted and verified some 45,000 names. I 
could also tell you how much the German Science Foundation paid for 
that. Would be interesting to compare that with Sherborn's salary.

It took Sherborn 43 years to extract 500,000 names. So he was more
efficient than we have been (partly because he did not compare with 
another great index published 100 years ago, partly because he worked 
more hours per week, partly because he skipped names of varieties and 
works that would have costed too much time of work per name, partly 
because he was more professional, it took us time to teach our 
students in the team).

I explain this for you to see that it is not easy to quickly extract 
names of Gray 1834 ("and other such works").

Occasionally I have verified some mollusc names I needed for my 
work, this is why you see works in the 1800s with only a few names 
checked, the others still missing. 

When a work has been completed and ALL names should be in the 
database, you will see an icon indicating that all names were 
extracted in the AnimalBase standard. If not, then the work is still 

I'd wish we had an IT expert so that we could take your suggestion 
and modify the form in which the listed new names are presented, by 
adding a comment that the names are still incomplete. 

> My guess is that the Helix was picked up from a list of European
> species 
The entry was last modified by myself from 09 Jan 2001 (you can see 
that at the bootom of the summary page of the species taxon), and 
there is a banner below that data that the name was entered from 
secondary sources. So it is definite that the original was not 
checked. You can also see which secondary sources I used 

The entry is incorrect, published on p. 7 was Helix Codringtonii.
I gave references on the species taxon summary page from which 
sources I took the spelling. The source of the misspelling 
codringtoni was Wenz & Zilch 1959-1960: 720. 

> and the Terebra from an ICZN Opinion, and no one actually
> checked the paper 
Look at the bottom o that page: the last modification of the entry 
was made by myself on 20 May 2008, and the original source was 
checked. You should be able to see that banner. Either there is this 
banner or the other banner.

> (or even bothered to run a search for "Gray 1834" in
> Index Animalium, in which taxa in this 1834 paper could be easily
> identified.)

If Sherborn was consulted there appears a note in the comment with a 
reference to Sherborn. This is not so here, so Sherborn was 
definitely not checked.

I leave the incorrect entry Helix codringtoni Gray, 1835 some more 
days in the database for you to check this again, and then I will 
modify the entry. You can also click on "Show history of this page", 
there you will see the backups of the previous entries. Can be 
helpful to understand the source of an error.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I don't know why I 
overlooked to check the original source. The book was digitised 
shortly after, in 2007. This was why I had not checked the name.

> Do not misunderstand me. 

Anything that contributes to improve something is appreciated.

University of Goettingen, Germany

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