[Taxacom] LSID versus names
stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jun 21 22:34:20 CDT 2012
There are several problematical issues with such an approach. For one, you say:
>Our 'list', APNI, aims to record and document everything that was ever said, by anyone, about the nomenclature and taxononomy of an Australian plant<
the problem here is that there is no clearly demarcated line dividing the relevant from the irrelevant, so you really end up having to record and document everything anybody has ever said about *any* plant, Australian or not (OK, so some things are clearly irrelevant, but it is all one big system)
what we really want to know about taxa are the "important things", but by trying to account for *everything* said about them, you spend 99% of the time and effort on unimportant things ...
From: Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com>
To: Dr.B.J.Tindall <bti at dsmz.de>
Cc: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Friday, 22 June 2012 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] LSID versus names
Sorry Brian - I am having difficulty in keeping up... :)
At the moment a 'list' is, in botany at least, an index, a tool to
stop you having to scour through the literature for tke killer fact
that will make or break a decision. Someone, bless their souls, has
already done that work for us.
With registration, the game changes. A list will or could become the
list. What hapens to the point of truth? Is it the type? The
publication? the list? Or a murky combination? What if the publication
contains different information to the type (shock!)? Or the the list
contains different information to both (horror!). Or all three are
different (oh the humanity!). Which ones can or should get
'corrected'? Of course, things like this will never happen...
Our 'list', APNI, aims to record and document everything that was ever
said, by anyone, about the nomenclature and taxononomy of an
Australian plant, even ambiguity and errors - the good the bad and the
downright ugly (you want ugly Rich, we'll give you ugly!). Essentially
your a) through d). But it is still, when you break it down, as
rigourous, perfect and useful as we like to imagine it could be, just
a list of names and list of assertions about those names, with no
legal standing under The Code at all.
Obviously this task will never be completed in my life time, or at
all when you think about it. But the journey of a thousand miles,
Back to the purpose of a/the list? To make our collective lives
easier, to make taxonomy more efficient and productive, but most
importantly, it is a shit tedious but essential job and we do not want
to have people do it more than once and be freed up to do more
taxonomy... which creates more names and more assertions which... you
get the picture... :)
On Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 9:52 PM, Dr.B.J.Tindall <bti at dsmz.de> wrote:
> which begs the question what is the purpose of the list? As far as I am
> concerened the list (which is not necessarily simply limited to "names")
> does not replace the main information concerning the properties of the taxon
> in question etc. It summarises critical information, which in the case of
> the Bacteriological Code would be:
> a) the name and where it was published (in our case in a Code compliant
> b) where one finds the description
> c) where the types are located
> d) given the relevance of specialist databases for data such as gene/protein
> sequences the links to the relevant sequence accession numbers.
> e) documenting assertions of synonym (without determining whether such
> assertions are to be followed), or rulings affecting the use of names made
> by appropriate authorities that deal with such matters.
> That is a good start. Both ZooBank and MycoBank look like that they would
> like to head for being far more than being just lists of names.
> Quoting Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com>:
>> Absolutely... which is why as a community we invest in things like
>> IPNI, APNI, etc.
>> But I think there is a risk, if not a problem, in assigning the point
>> of authority to an abstracted list rather the publication.
>> Having said that, the crystal ball and bat entrails are insisting that
>> time and technology will inevitably take us to a place where 'the list
>> is the thing'. They don't tell me when or how it is going to work, but
>> they are pretty sure it is going to happen.
>> On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 10:57 PM, Dr.B.J.Tindall <bti at dsmz.de> wrote:
>>> Well, if anything is going to be "authoritative" it would have to be the
>>> fact that certain nomenclatural and taxonomic events/acts have taken
>>> There is no better way of doing this than to make sure that these
>>> acts/events are properly documented. In bacteriology and virology this is
>>> via a centralised system. To my knowledge the virologists maintain an
>>> authoritative list of names on the ICTV website and there were
>>> that bacteriologists should do the same - the only issue being who pays
>>> The only issue that is problematic is when there is an "authoritative"
>>> (which in bacteriology would document new names and new combinations) and
>>> other lists surface which are misleading/erroneous and undermine the work
>>> those who try to make sure that the "authoritative lists" are accurate.
>>> Quoting Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com>:
>>>> This kind of thinking is a big problem and one of the reasons we get
>>>> into messes like this. NONE of these databases is authoritative. They
>>>> are not mentioned in the Code, they have not legislated priority and
>>>> have no official standing in nomenclature or taxonomy at all. They are
>>>> at best useful and reliable indices to the literature (with the type
>>>> and cited specimens, the real authority), at worst, incomplete
>>>> perpetuators of falsehoods.
>>>> There is no point looking for a single point of truth when there isn't
>>>> one. Well ok, it might be core business for religion and politics. But
>>>> it is not going to work for nomenclature and taxonomy, unless we
>>>> change the Code radically and create one (ducks quickly, to avoid the
>>>> ugly reg* word).
>>>> On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 5:42 PM, Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk>
>>>>> Plant people are
>>>>> somewhat better off with IPNI, although one could argue whether we
>>>>> regard IPNI, Tropics, or the Plant List as the definitive authority.
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>> Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~ http://about.me/jrc
>> 'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to
>> pause and reflect.'
>> - Mark Twain
>> 'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point
>> of doubtful sanity.'
>> - Robert Frost
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> Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von
> Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
> Inhoffenstraße 7B
> 38124 Braunschweig
> Tel. ++49 531-2616-224
> Fax ++49 531-2616-418
> Director: Prof. Dr. J. Overmann
> Local court: Braunschweig HRB 2570
> Chairman of the management board: MR Dr. Axel Kollatschny
> DSMZ - A member of the Leibniz Association (WGL)
> This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.
Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~ http://about.me/jrc
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'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to
pause and reflect.'
- Mark Twain
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point
of doubtful sanity.'
- Robert Frost
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