[Taxacom] Best usage - spp (no period) or spp.?

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Mon Oct 8 00:04:29 CDT 2012


And to help you make the decision perhaps err towards common practice.
See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbreviation on the practice
of doubling letters in Latin to indicate plurality. "In Latin, and
continuing to the derivative forms in European languages as well as
English, single-letter abbreviations had the plural being a doubling
of the letter for note-taking. Most of these deal with writing and
publishing. A few longer abbreviations use this as well." All bar one
of the cited examples use a period.

jim

On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 3:34 PM, Stephen Thorpe
<stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>  wrote:
> Congrats Tony, you win hands down THE most pointlessly pedantic (and pedantically pointless) thread ever on Taxacom!!
>
> Here's a solution: choose an option, make it explicit, and stick with it ...
>
> Stephen
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: "Tony.Rees at csiro.au" <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Cc: Daniel.Gledhill at csiro.au; John.Pogonoski at csiro.au; Karen.Gowlett-Holmes at csiro.au
> Sent: Monday, 8 October 2012 5:26 PM
> Subject: [Taxacom] Best usage - spp (no period) or spp.?
>
> Dear Taxacomers,
>
> I maintain a database here on marine species in Australian waters (called CAAB) covering largely zoology but also some marine plants, where for many years, those responsible for entering and maintaining the fishes component of the content have consistently preferred "spp" (no trailing period) to indicate recognised taxonomic units comprising multiple species (example: Priacanthus spp") whereas in other groups, editing persons have preferred the trailing period (example: "Chlamys spp.", a genus of bivalves). The proponents of the "no period" form contend that, while "sp." is an abbreviation, and thus legitimately is followed by a period to indicate that some characters have been omitted from that point, "spp" is not (similar to Mrs, cf, and more) and therefore does not.
>
>
> I have consulted a number of works to ascertain whether it is possible (without breaking heads) to persuade my contributors to standardise on one form or the other. The Zoological and Botanical Codes seem to be silent on the matter, however in the "CBE Scientific Style and Format" manual, 6th ed. is stated:
>
>>> Periods should be retained if they are required by a nomenclatural document of a scientific organization,
>>> for example, the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria. ...
>>> species -> sp. ("spp.", plural)  [not "sp" ("spp", plural)]
>
> Also I see from this official? Bacteriological site http://www.bacterio.cict.fr/foreword.html the following:
>
>
>>> Abbreviations and signs used in the "List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature"
> (includes:)
>>> spp.: species plurales (relating to many species).
>
> So maybe spp is an abbreviation after all and should indeed be followed by a period.
>
> I did look for guidance in David L. Hawksworth's "Terms Used in Bionomenclature" (2010) which has "sp." but surprisingly, no entry for the plural form of the term.
>
> I guess there may be some parallels with other abbreviations/contractions where there is a repeated final letter such as ff (for following pages), pp (for pages), mss (for manuscripts), but also it would be possible to define a special case for scientific nomenclature in any case if desired.
>
> Comments / solutions / the Oracle anyone?
>
> Regards - Tony
>
>
>
> Tony Rees
> Manager, Divisional Data Centre,
> CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,
> GPO Box 1538,
> Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
> Ph: 0362 325318 (Int: +61 362 325318)
> Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000)
> e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au
> Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/
> Biodiversity informatics research activities: http://www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre/biodiversity.htm
> Personal info: http://www.fishbase.org/collaborators/collaboratorsummary.cfm?id=1566
> LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tony-rees/18/770/36
>
>
>
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-- 
_________________
Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~ http://about.me/jrc
'Without the freedom to criticize, there is no true praise.
- Pierre Beaumarchais
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