[Taxacom] Citing Authors for Animals

Tony Rees tonyrees49 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 18 15:08:28 CDT 2015

Hi Mary,

You wrote:

...the scientific names in ITIS are not, in themselves a problem. It is
> connecting them to the appropriate author and parent – which is a simple
> relationship to set up once one has downloaded the file for one’s taxa.

I should probably point out that, as a botanist, you will be used to a
"standard form" of each distinct author (e.g. lots of Smiths will each be
cited differently, in their own unique way) which neatly solves the
disambiguation problem for author names for botanists, In zoological usage
this is not so, so there will be many authors cited e.g. simply as "Smith"
who are in fact different (only Smiths liable to be confused, for example
different Smiths working on the same group in a similar time period, would
normally be distinguished via the use of initials). This means modelling
such names as the equivalent of real persons in a database is not really
possible without a lot of additional work (which I am sure you do not want
to do...). I and (I believe) most others do not attempt to do a lot more
with zoological author names in large scale data systems than treat them as
a plain text extension following the scientific name (optionally searchable
if desired) - the exceptions to this are workers in a restricted field
(such as Eschmeyer's Catalog of Fishes) who go further, research the
initials and identity for every author, and so distinguish between them in
order to link to publications etc.

Just mentioning this in case it changes what you plan to do,

Best regards - Tony

Tony Rees, New South Wales, Australia

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