[Taxacom] Unique Identifier and Science

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Tue Jan 14 16:02:51 CST 2014


Good points, Chris. Identification of type specimens seems straight
forward. Identification of concepts seems more of a bibliographic
problem addressing groupings. Are these confounded, conflated?

 

____________________________
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA  
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
<http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/>  and
http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
<http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm> 
Evol. Syst.: <http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/EvSy/Intro.htm>
http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/EvSy/Intro.htm
<http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/EvSy/Intro.htmUPS> 
UPS and FedExpr -  Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis
MO 63110 USA

________________________________

From: Chris Thompson [mailto:xelaalex at cox.net] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 1:02 PM
To: Richard Zander; Laurent Raty; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Unique Identifier and Science

 

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 <mailto:Richard.Zander at mobot.org>  

Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:48 PM

To: Chris Thompson <mailto:xelaalex at cox.net>  ; Laurent Raty
<mailto:l.raty at skynet.be>  ; 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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