[Taxacom] Unique Identifier and Science

Chris Thompson xelaalex at cox.net
Tue Jan 14 13:01:54 CST 2014


RE: [Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?Yes, Richard, 

All valid question, GIVEN that we were starting over.

My response was first framed in given our current zoological code system, what is the best solution to make alphabetic names into unique identifiers.

Yes, if we were to begin today, other unique identifiers could be argued about and may be better.

For example, one major problem with the historical / linnaean / current system is that we try to embed into the species group name an indication of the placement in a higher classification (that is, the genus group name). Hence, given multiple current classifications, you could have some using X-us albus or Z-us albus to “uniquely” identify the same concept.

Hence, ZooBank with its 
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:32AB0AE4-47D5-42C9-9BCC-2AC1CB4B281A is a truly unique identifier INDEPENDENT of one’s classification

Yes, therefore the real question is how much should we try to adapt the old system to current digital communication needs or should we simply abandon the old system and embrace ZooBank registration, at least for our Science.

Then, one must remember users. And that means the Public. Today there are millions interested in birds, watching them, concerned about them, using them as indicators, etc., but in most cases they no longer use scientific names to communicate about them, but given one’s language, common names have now become standardized and the unique identifiers for that purpose. I work on a popular group of flies, the flower flies. And the trend is clear, to abandon scientific names (the ICZN, latin ones) and follow a set of common names.

So, to summarize, as some waste effort and time arguing about whether it is Neoromicia nanUS or nanA, science and public are interested in more productive issues.

Oh, well ...

Sincerely,

Chris,

or uniquely:
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:author:8B6FFB47-C65D-4BD7-A948-B0EFD648899


From: Richard Zander 
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:48 PM
To: Chris Thompson ; Laurent Raty ; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

I agree that we should have unique identifiers for species, species-groups, and like that.

Chris, you imply that there is too much argument over Latin words as unique identifiers. How will any other unique identifiers NOT be argued over?


Taxonomists-in-a-hurry will want to use their own unique identifiers, like species "A" and "B" or X22%KK. Bad persons will defend their use of binary numbers. Others will suggest base 12 as more natural. 

Still others will suggest using letters as less expensive of informational space than digits. Some few may feel that organizing the letters to make easily memorized words is the best way to help humans keep track of biodiversity. Politically sensitive persons will suggest words from an Esperanto dictionary, and suggest they be paid to translate species names from Latin to Esperanto. Others may suggest Chinese ideograms as even more saving of informational space and easily comprehended by the majority of us. 


Some reactionary persons may well opine that why not leave Latin alone and just try to get it right.


Richard

____________________________

Richard H. Zander

Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA  

Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm

Evol. Syst.: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/EvSy/Intro.htm

UPS and FedExpr -  Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis MO 63110 USA


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Chris Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 11:20 AM
To: Laurent Raty; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

All:

Sorry, I apparently did not make myself clear.

Look at this long dialogue about an ancient language and then ask what it as 

to do with SCIENCE and most importantly to the PUBLIC.

As Science which should be helping people understand biodiversity, 

understand changes to biodiversity, and most importantly what we can do to 

make the best choices to maintain a biodiversity fauna for us, humans.

NOTHING!

What we need is UNIQUE identifiers to species-group concepts, most of which 

represent real populations of individuals, etc.

But instead we waste time on arguing about whether it is Neoromicia nanUS or 

Neoromicia nanA.

Wonder why taxonomy is not viewed as real science by most?

This is a clear example.

Rather than using our limited resources to address questions of IMPORTANCE, 

we instead argue whether the name should end in "us" or "a"

Oh, well ... I should really have ignored this and, instead, documented some 

endangered species!

Sincerely,

Chris

from home

-----Original Message----- 

From: Laurent Raty

Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 11:18 AM

To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

Hi Francisco,

I agree. Rules based on an imprecise notion of prevailing usage are a

receipt for multiple spellings ending up used simultaneously by authors

who interpret the rules differently.

I wasn't trying to promote the use of prevailing usage as a solution: I

was merely pointing out that the current rules do not, in any way,

protect incorrect gender agreements, however prevailing their usage may

be. Gender agreement is mandatory, in exactly the same way as it is

mandatory to use an -idae ending for a family name.

Laurent -



On 01/14/2014 04:07 PM, Francisco Welter-Schultes wrote:

> Laurent,

>

> "prevailing usage" is no solution for such a problem either. I am strictly

> in favour of refining Art. 33.2.3.1 and Art. 33.3.1 in that for

> determining "prevailing usage" there should be clear provisions, in a form

> they were established for Art. 23.9.1 (reversal of precedence). These

> rules should include provisions that the involved names must be frequently

> used, and that a certain spelling must be definitely regarded as incorrect

> after establishing a valid nomenclatural act. In the current form the

> regulation is too arbitrary.

>

> The experience tells us that in their current form the rules implying

> "prevailing usage" produce more conflicts than they actually help. In the

> few years that have passed after this rule was introduced we have

> accumulated a significant number of totally useless and undesired debates

> in publications in the malacological community about the correct spellings

> of certain molluscan names that are used once in a decade or so.

>

> People start citing six publications from the past 50 years and argue that

> a misspelling is in prevailing usage because only in two papers the name

> was spelled correctly. Others introduce a misspelling and use that one in

> two subsequent papers and a few internet resources, and 3 years later they

> argue the misspelling is in prevailing usage. All this is often associated

> with serious conflicts that quickly lead to hostility among competing

> colleagues in the same animal group. This is not a good development. The

> nomenclatural rules should promote more harmony in the community, because

> if more people work together this gives better scientific results.

>

> Francisco

>

>> Chris,

>>

>> On 01/14/2014 02:20 PM, Chris Thompson wrote:

>>> As for the past, beware of Art. 33.3.1, what I call the "Tubbs" clause.

>>> That

>>> is, regardless of whether name is properly or improperly formed

>>> originally,

>>> the "... spelling ... in prevailing usage ...  is deemed to be the

>>> correct

>>> original spelling."

>>>

>>> So, one needs only to determine whether Neoromicia nanus is used more

>>> than

>>> Neoromicia nana. Language is irrelevant as usage determined the "correct

>>> original spelling!"

>>

>> The "Tubbs" clause doesn't apply here, I fear.

>>

>> The Code recognises three types of subsequent spellings (Art.33.1):

>> - emendations,

>> - incorrect subsequent spellings, and

>> - mandatory changes.

>> There is a clause protecting prevailing usage in the case of (otherwise)

>> unjustified emendations (Art.33.2.3.1) and in the case of (otherwise)

>> incorrect subsequent spelling (33.3.1). A change in ending due to gender

>> agreement is neither: it is a mandatory change, covered by Art.34.2.

>> There is no clause protecting prevailing usage in this case.

>>

>> Cheers, Laurent -



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