[tdwg-tag] [tdwg-content] canonicalScientificName

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Fri Mar 16 23:18:28 CET 2012

Are you now withdrawing your formal request to add the term canonicalScientificName to DwC?  I had forwarded your request to John Wieczorek to notify him of the initiation of the change process on Google Code.

Frankly, I was hoping for a broader comment period involving more of the actual “users” that have been mentioned in the various threads, particularly more of the plant name users, to put some more balance into the discussion.  Then, let the process go through to an up or down decision on the request based on that (hopefully) broader discussion.  Discounting hybrid names as “an edge case” seemed a bit edgy and worthy of some more reaction from actual users/consumers of plant name data before being taken as consensus.

But, are you withdrawing the request?


From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Peter Desmet
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2012 4:52 PM
To: Tim Robertson [GBIF]
Cc: TDWG content mailing list; tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] [tdwg-content] canonicalScientificName

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: http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/issues/detail?id=151

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+" "+infraspecificEpithet).
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<mailto: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 Desmet
Biodiversity Informatics Manager
Canadensys - www.canadensys.net<http://www.canadensys.net>

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

Phone: 514-343-6111 #82354<tel:514-343-6111%20%2382354>
Fax: 514-343-2288<tel:514-343-2288>
Email: peter.desmet at umontreal.ca<mailto:peter.desmet at umontreal.ca> / peter.desmet.cubc at gmail.com<mailto:peter.desmet.cubc at gmail.com>
Skype: anderhalv
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