[Taxacom] Data query
Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Tue Jun 25 20:58:56 CDT 2013
This is a known issue and not just for wikispecies (or Wikipedia) but also is encountered in for example Catalogue of Life, Eschmeyer's Catalog of Fishes, Fauna Europaea, WoRMS, ITIS, GRIN taxonomy, GBIF, ALA to name a few. Basically these databases and systems and their equivalents elsewhere are only set up (presently) to handle a single classification, although the selected one may change through time. The best they can do (so far as I am aware) is to rely on some domain expert (or maybe group of experts) to make a call as to which placement best reflects the most "current" taxonomic consensus or weight of evidence if the latter does not exist, and add a note that the stated placement is not universally accepted and possibly why. This is no different from published treatments e.g. a random grab from "Mammal Species of the World":
"Myotis melanorhinus Merriam, 1890 (Dark-nosed Small-footed Myotis)
Comments: Included in leibii or ciliolabrum by various authors, but see van Zyll de Jong (1984). Reviewed by Holloway and Barclay (2001), who treated it as a subspecies of ciliolabrum."
Some including persons known to me on this list prefer systems to be able to handle multiple classifications concurrently - for example EoL has implemented such a facility - at the price (in their case at least) of not being able to browse all species in any one of them due to data gaps.
No doubt ZooBank/GNUB has a take on this which will or may assist - Rich?
Cheers - Tony
From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
Sent: Wednesday, 26 June 2013 11:40 AM
To: Richard Pyle; Rees, Tony (CMAR, Hobart); mesibov at southcom.com.au
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Data query
>....which means that WkiSpecies can only accommodate a single "correct" classification? How do you handle cases where there is an active lumper v.
>splitter debate? For example, some say it's Centropyge boylei, and some say it's Paracentropyge boylei, and there is no consensus yet. Does WikiSpecies
>pick one and redirect from the other, or does it maintain two pages, with some sort of note concerning the ongoing debate?
There are a couple of options. My preferred one is just to file everything under one classification, more or less arbitrarily, say as Centropyge boylei, but redirect a page for Paracentropyge boylei to Centropyge boylei. The main thing is that all the relevant references are listed on the Centropyge boylei page, including those which refer to Paracentropyge boylei. I don't see a problem here ...
From: Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org<mailto:deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>>
To: 'Stephen Thorpe' <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz<mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>>; Tony.Rees at csiro.au<mailto:Tony.Rees at csiro.au>; mesibov at southcom.com.au<mailto:mesibov at southcom.com.au>
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, 26 June 2013 1:25 PM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Data query
> If further research resulted in a change to Centropyge aurantonota,
> then someone would redirect the page for Centropyge aurantonotus
> to a new page for Centropyge aurantonota.
OK, good to know. So the old link would remain, and would re-direct.
> Simple! Similarly, old combinations get redirected to new ones.
....which means that WkiSpecies can only accommodate a single "correct"
classification? How do you handle cases where there is an active lumper v.
splitter debate? For example, some say it's Centropyge boylei, and some say
it's Paracentropyge boylei, and there is no consensus yet. Does WikiSpecies
pick one and redirect from the other, or does it maintain two pages, with
some sort of note concerning the ongoing debate?
> Actually, ideally, a database would store only a genus name,
> its gender, and the stem of the species name, and then
> autocreate the correct suffix, but that would be tricky
> as things are (in part because of the current Code's attempt
> to please everyone with (hopelessly vague) "prevailing usage"
> caveats on correct spellings) ...
Prevailing usage is not the only problem with that sort of automated gender
match. The other problem concerns whether the species epithet was
originally used as a noun, or as an adjective. Thus, at least one more
input parameter is needed to algorithmically derive the "gender-corrected"
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