[tdwg-content] Change genus definition or introduce genericName?

Peter Desmet peter.desmet at umontreal.ca
Thu Mar 22 18:14:26 CET 2012

Hi everyone,

A spin-off of the discussion regarding canonicalScientificName (and
possibly a solution to it as well) concerns the term "genus".

As mentioned before, most people probably interpret this term as "The name
of the genus of the scientificName."
- scientificName: *Aster* simplex var. ramosissimus (Torrey & A. Gray) A.
- acceptedNameUsage: Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Willdenow) G.L. Nesom
subsp. lanceolatum var. lanceolatum
- genus: *Aster*
- specificEpithet: simplex
- infraspecificEpithet: ramosissimus

Even though it is defined as "The full scientific name of the genus in
which the taxon is classified.", which leads to this for synonyms:
- scientificName: Aster simplex var. ramosissimus (Torrey & A. Gray) A.
- acceptedNameUsage: *Symphyotrichum* lanceolatum (Willdenow) G.L. Nesom
subsp. lanceolatum var. lanceolatum
- genus: *Symphyotrichum Nees*
- specificEpithet: simplex
- infraspecificEpithet: ramosissimus

For more background on this issue, please read:
http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/issues/detail?id=151 &

There are now two possible solutions on the table (by Markus Döring,

for sharing the genus name part we have 2 options:

A) consistent dwc approach:
We keep the dwc:genus definition as it is to be inline with the other
classification terms including subgenus. All of these should contain
the accepted classification, not necessarily the part of the name.
Two new terms genericName and infragenericEpithet are then proposed to
hold the genus part of a name and the infra generic part. This
approach keeps the dwc terms consistent and does not mix
classification terms with terms for atomized names.

B) least change approach:
Taking into account that many people already use dwc:genus for the
name part we alter the definition of the term as proposed here. This
results in the least impact on existing publishers and probably
consumers too. But it has the drawback of i) dwc terms are
inconsistent with family & subgenus being the classification, not the
name part, ii) no option anymore to share the genus classification,
iii) no way to share all infra generic names

I would hope we can start a vote around those 2 options with A) being
my clear favorite

We need your opinion and input to move this issue forward.



Peter Desmet
Biodiversity Informatics Manager
Canadensys - www.canadensys.net

Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre
4101 rue Sherbrooke est
Montreal, QC, H1X2B2

Phone: 514-343-6111 #82354
Fax: 514-343-2288
Email: peter.desmet at umontreal.ca / peter.desmet.cubc at gmail.com
Skype: anderhalv
Public profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterdesmet
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