[tdwg-tag] [tdwg-content] canonicalScientificName

Peter Desmet peter.desmet at umontreal.ca
Fri Mar 16 22:51:33 CET 2012

Hi all,

The reason why I proposed a canonicalScientificName was to make it easier
for data users.

As Tim Robertson points out [1], adding this term will probably make it
more complicated, without much benefit. Gregor Hagedorn [2] explains that
canonicalScientificName is not a solution for some edge cases (like
hybrids) and infraspecific names without a rank marker don't mean much in
botany. Rich Pyle [3] points out that more requests will probably be
proposed (canonicalScientificNameWithoutRanks,
canonicalScientificNameWithoutInfrageneric), demonstrated by Gregor's
remark [2].

I now agree with all of these. The only thing I'd like to refine is the
definition for genus [4], for which I issued a request:

See my argumentation in the link above. Basically: As I explained before
(and Markus Döring before me), under the current definition the genus gets
populated with the genus name of the accepted taxon for a synonym, while
the specificEpithet and infraspecificEpithet are not. I think this is
counter intuitive and confusing. I would populate it with the "genus name
of the scientificName", which I think is how much people interpret it
anyway. Advantages:

1. Agreeing with the refined definition for genus won't affect most of our
applications and data (only for those who cared about putting the accepted
genus for synonyms).
2. No new term canonicalScientificName.
3. Not need to update the useful definition for scientificName (verbose all
the way if you can).
4. Publishers and aggregators *have the option* to provide an easier to use
name via genus, specificEpithet and infraspecificEpithet. None of these
have an authorship, so creating a canonicalScientificName under the
proposed definition is as easy as TRIM(genus+" "+specificEpithet+"
5. The above statement only applies to genera, species and infraspecific
taxa, but this is the bulk of our data. This method cannot be applied to
infrageneric taxa and higher taxa, but as Rich pointed out [3], there are
alternative methods for this.
6. Aggregators can ignore genus, specificEpithet and infraspecificEpithet
for heterogenous networks and use parsers to deal with scientificNames.
Stripping out the scientificNameAuthorship or using a simple regular
expression won't sometimes be enough of course, e.g. "*Calamagrostis* *
stricta* (Timm) Koeler subsp. *stricta* (Timm) Koeler var.
*borealis*(Laestadius) Hartman" and those pesky hybrids. The good this
is that once
they have done the work, they can actually express that data in Darwin Core
(see point 4).
7. Timon lepidus won't complain [5]. :-)



[1] http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/issues/detail?id=150#c1
[2] http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/issues/detail?id=150#c3
[3] http://lists.tdwg.org/pipermail/tdwg-tag/2012-March/002487.html
[4] http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/index.htm#genus
[5] https://plus.google.com/114672072317054763788/posts/Nph2ksggNZW

On Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 17:28, Peter Desmet <peter.desmet at umontreal.ca>wrote:

> Hi all,
> Since most of the discussion happened on this tdwg-content and tdwg-tag
> mailing lists already, can't we continue here? I created a link to both
> from the issue page:
> http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/issues/detail?id=150#c2
> I have been stuck in a meeting all day, while Tim Roberston wrote some
> convincing arguments against creating a canonicalScientificName term (
> http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/issues/detail?id=150#c1), as did Rich
> Pyle (email March 14 17:20 GMT-10:00). I will need some time to think
> about these. :-) I will try to write a coherent response tomorrow.
> Peter

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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