[Taxacom] Why stability?

Nico Franz nico.franz at asu.edu
Wed Apr 29 16:26:48 CDT 2015

Hi Peter:

   I hope I can address this. Mind you the general notions have been around
in the TDWG community since at least the early 1990s.

   Let's make it somewhat concrete (more abstract = easier to keep

   SEINet currently displays two circumscriptions that are labeled with the
name Quercus grisea:

   That would be, more granularly identified:

Taxonomic concept label 1: Quercus grisea sec. FNA (1997, Nixon)
Taxonomic concept label 2: Quercus grisea sec. VPAP (1993, Landrum)

   With that kind of identifier granularity, we can express the following:

1997.Quercus_arizonica is_included_in 1993.Quercus_grisea
1997.Quercus_grisea is_included_in 1993.Quercus_grisea

   The 1993 classification recognizes more narrowly circumscribed concepts.
Two non-congruent theories of what the name Quercus grisea refers to are in
play. Others might be added in the future. It might well be that in this
case synonymy can account for the different degrees in resolution. In other
cases it cannot:

   SEINet currently returns 1349 records for the search term "Quercus
arizonica". And 1324 specimens for "Quercus grisea". I would guess that
some of the latter 1324 specimens are also validly identifiable to Quercus
arizona sec. VPAP (1993), whereas others are not.

   A query that uses taxonomic concept labels just looks like this:

Show all specimens for Quercus grisea sec. FNA (1997, Nixon). => More
specimens, wider or more dense distribution.
Show all specimens for Quercus grisea sec. VPAP (1993, Landrum). => Fewer
specimens, narrower or less dense distribution.

   So "Quercus grisea" produces two non-identical distributions maps in a
system that handles concept-level resolution. This requires that the
specimens are identified to the concept level in the system.

Best, Nico

On Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 1:20 PM, Peter Hovenkamp <phovenkamp at casema.nl>

> Nico,
> I still wonder (and that was the main question in my previous post) how
> anyone will be able to select, for any particular query on such a database,
> the concept that is to be used in the query. Do you envisage "concepts of
> concepts", allowing a querier to limit the query to at least a subset of
> concepts? Or what?
> Best,
> Peter

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