[Taxacom] BioNames and others names

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Mon Jun 3 02:52:35 CDT 2013

From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
Sent: Sunday, June 02, 2013 8:28 PM

> [...] what you need is a comprehensive index of every text string
> that has ever been purported to represent the scientific name of
> an organism. [...]

Well, that depends. One starts out by setting a goal, and then selects
means to get there. These means are not (or should not be) a "need".
Other approaches are possible.
* * *

> [...] We even started a glossary, that eventually ended up here:
> http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/UBIF/LinneanCoreDefinitions

> But, alas, the confusion and ambiguity continue today.

My impression is that defining yet more terms (in a field that already is
chock full of them) is not helpful and will just add to the confusion.
* * *

> [...] For example, in one context, "Pseudanthias ventralis", "P.
> ventralis", and "Pseudanthias ventralus" all need to be tracked
> separately, so all three would get a distinct database row. [...]

Of these, at least "P. ventralis" is clear: this is context-dependent,
and if "mined" in isolation is meaningless. There is no "need" for it
to "be tracked separately". (You can if you want to, but you don't
need to)
* * *

> [...] your attitude seemed to be "Well, the ICNafp has a clear definition
> for what a taxon name is, so Rich is a candidate for 'Most Gross
> Exaggeration of the Year'".  My counter-point to that is that ICNafp
> is just one of several Codes, and the Codes in general represent only
> part of the informatics needs for broader taxonomic/biological
> communication.  [...]

What you said was "almost no two people agree on what a "taxon name" is."
which IS a gross exaggeration (to put it mildly). If you start by
classifying people into an "ICNafp view", a "ICZN view", and a "databaser's
view" you will have covered most of the territority. (However, if you are
looking for a word that means something different to each person try

The broader taxonomic/biological community is very clear in what it
regards as a taxon name: generic names, binomials / binomens, and
trinomials / trinomens (plus some stuff at other ranks). As the Codes
are geared towards providing just these, there should not have been
all that much of a problem ...


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