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

Anthony Gill gill.anthony at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 19:56:15 CDT 2012


I had been told early in my career the distinction between a truncation
(period at the end) and a contraction (no period), neither of which helps
much with spp. (though I think in ichthyology, the convention seems to be
to have the period). However, you might appreciate one story. The coauthor
of one of my first papers told me to remove the period from "vs." (=
versus; which I had used when comparing characters of different taxa),
because it was a contraction. In other words, the remaining "s" was the
second s in versus, rather than the first one!

Tony

On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> wrote:

> we shall have to confer about cf.
>
> sorry! :)
>
> Stephen
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: "Tony.Rees at csiro.au" <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
> To: sean.r.edwards at btinternet.com; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 1:18 PM
>  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Best usage - spp (no period) or spp.?
>
> Thanks to all who responded on this interesting (?) thread. These
> responses have been summarised to the responsible CAAB editors who have
> agreed to standardise on "spp." for this purpose. The power of the taxacom
> list is thus once again demonstrated to all.
>
> Still awaiting significant deliberations regarding a potential change from
> "cf" to "cf.", however...
>
> 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
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> > bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Sean Edwards
> > Sent: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 3:06 AM
> > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Best usage - spp (no period) or spp.?
> >
> > Well, sorry if this has been already covered -- I tended to dip out and
> > delete when the puns got too irritating.
> >
> > At the risk of getting serious, Stephen's is the first reply that
> > stated
> > what I was always taught and practised: Wikipedia's "In British English
> > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_English>, according to Hart's
> > Rules <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hart%27s_Rules>, the general rule
> > is
> > that abbreviations (in the narrow sense that includes only words with
> > the ending, and not the middle, dropped) terminate with a full stop
> > (period), whereas contractions (in the sense of words missing a middle
> > part) do not." For example "Mr", "Dr" and so on. But "Prof." and
> > "Rev.".
> > This, for example, neatly distinguishes "St" (Saint) from "St."
> > (Street), should you ever -- improbably -- be confused as to which was
> > meant.
> >
> > Interestingly, when I transcribed all of Richard Spruce's hand-written
> > letters at Manchester in 1994, it was necessary to represent his
> > Victorian way of abbreviating. He abbreviated words with the centre
> > omitted and the end superscripted over a point -- as well as
> > straight-forward truncating with a point.
> >
> > I listed 14 notes on the transcription, the first of which was: "1)
> > Spruce regularly abbreviates words by omitting part and terminating the
> > word with the last letter(s) written superscript over a point (or
> > perhaps sometimes a hyphen, or occasionally nothing at all); these are
> > all transcribed with a point preceding the last letter(s) typed in
> > normal size. On other occasions Spruce abbreviates a word by
> > substituting the last part with a point, and this distinction I have
> > maintained." Examples would be transcribed as "Jun.r" and "M.r", "Yours
> > obed.y", "descr.n" (description), "c.d" (could), "gath.d", "exam.d"
> > (examined), &c.. Although superscripting is quite possible in
> > word-processing (even in 1994 -- and even with a typewriter), the
> > point-in-the-middle works quickly and well to show where the omission
> > was, because it was important to convey as accurately as reasonably
> > possible what Spruce had written. Old fashioned maybe, but logical and
> > clear. A more modern variant uses an inverted comma for an internal
> > omission, particularly for a penultimate "e" as in push'd, also for
> > longer omissions such as "c'd". It's about all you can do for OCR'd.
> >
> > Spruce was somewhat inconsistent, using either "D.r" or "Dr." for
> > Doctor, and "D.r" as in Dear Sir. He would use e.g. "H." or "H.m" for
> > the moss /Hypnum/.
> >
> > However, when not transcribing so punctiliously (...), most older
> > people
> > I know over here use Hart's Rules.
> >
> > Sean
> >
> > P.S.: Incidentally, the Spruce document is now available in Acrobat,
> > 64,256 words, 1,235 KB. I hyperlink-indexed of all his taxa (666
> > entries) using expanded names. However, to my knowledge, it has never
> > been published, including on the web. A pity because it is a remarkable
> > insight into one of our best Victorian botanists. But I'm sure that
> > Herb. MANCH would make it available if asked. My version was last
> > edited
> > 21 October 2002.
> >
> > P.P.S.: I'd go for "spp.". Period. But "cf." (conferre) rather than
> > "c.f.". Illogical?
> >
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >
> > Sean Edwards, Thursley, UK, email:sean.r.edwards at btinternet.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On 09/10/2012 03:54, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> > > Tony,
> > >
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbreviation#Periods_.28full_stops.29_and_
> > spaces
> > > Stephen
> > >
> > >
> > > ________________________________
> > > From:"Tony.Rees at csiro.au"  <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
> > _______________________________________________
> >
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-- 
Dr Anthony C. Gill
Natural History Curator
A12 Macleay Museum
University of Sydney
NSW 2006
Australia.

Ph. +61 02 9036 6499
Editorial Board, Species and Systematics:
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