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  Naming standards
From: Todd Ruth <truth at weber.ucsd.edu> on 1997.01.02 at 13:59:24(34)
I know no one likes numbers for names, but as a software engineer I
have to ask.... Is there an international standard for numeric
designations for species? I'm hoping there is a cdrom set out there
somewhere that is just a huge list of:

74567862347845 1.2.3.4.5.6.7 additional

where the first column is a unique identifier down to the cultivar/
subspecies level and the second is the current "official" name (or
at least some cdrom distributors opinion of the "official" name).
There would be a table included indicating that 1 means Plantae (or
whatever is at the top of the tree; my biology education stopped at
high school (and is continuing again on the net :) )), 1.2 means
Plantae Whateverae, etc. The third column would be subspecies/cultivar
name. (The only reason for numbers in the second column rather
than using the Latin directly is space conservation in the table.
(and if you leave the groupings alone but decide you simply must
change a name, you can make the change in the table rather than
throughout))

This would be great! I could track of all of my plants in my
database using the unique id, and display/print the information
using whatever the latest name craze happened to be. I'd use the
number on all tags and keep a lookup sheet handy with translations
to the current names for the ids I happen to use. Actually,
I'd probably use the number "dash" another number indicating
the genetic instance so I could tell which were clones. For
the species where there is a list of clones it would be good
to have the clone number built into the unique id.

All this depends on a central naming database however. Does one
exist? If not, do any of the taxonamists know of an effort to
get one going? Blocks of IDs could be assigned to organizations;
if they run out, more would be assigned. IAS seems like a good
choice for the aroids. IAS could be the keeper of the unique
ids for members of the family Aracae. If a plant was moved out
of Aracae, no problem! Some other group now owns that id. If
two plants are decided to be the same, no problem: the second
and third columns would be the same for both numbers. If a plant
changes names, the second and/or third column would change (but
not the database of an individual grower). Thousands of hybrids
could get unique ids even though the second column is the same
for all of them. Would a 32 bit number be sufficient? (allowing
ids 0 - 4294967295) or would a 64 bit number be needed (allowing
ids 0 - 18446744073709551615)? If the latter were the case,
I think I'd need "local" unique ids to keep me from going crazy
making out the labels, but then again, that's only 20 characters
at the worst - maybe it's not too bad.

Anyway, the advantages to such a system seem great to
this member - any other ideas for insulating amateurs from the
perils of taxonomical changes?

If there is not currently a system in place, and there is support
for forming one, let's hash out what would work for people and
I'd be glad to help put some code together to help maintain such
a system. I'd be doing it for myself anyway! :)

- Todd Ruth

+More
From: jimjim at sky.net (James W. Waddick) on 1997.01.03 at 17:13:09(53)
>I know no one likes numbers for names, but as a software engineer I
>have to ask.... Is there an international standard for numeric
>designations for species? I'm hoping there is a cdrom set out there
>somewhere that is just a huge list of:
>
>74567862347845 1.2.3.4.5.6.7 additional
>
>where the first column is a unique identifier down to the cultivar/
>subspecies level and the second is the current "official" name (or
>at least some cdrom distributors opinion of the "official" name).
>There would be a table included indicating that 1 means Plantae (or
>whatever is at the top of the tree; my biology education stopped at
>high school (and is continuing again on the net :) )), 1.2 means
>Plantae Whateverae, etc. The third column would be subspecies/cultivar
>name. (The only reason for numbers in the second column rather
>than using the Latin directly is space conservation in the table.
>(and if you leave the groupings alone but decide you simply must
>change a name, you can make the change in the table rather than
>throughout))
>
>This would be great! I could track of all of my plants in my
>database using the unique id, and display/print the information
>using whatever the latest name craze happened to be. I'd use the
>number on all tags and keep a lookup sheet handy with translations
>to the current names for the ids I happen to use. Actually,
>I'd probably use the number "dash" another number indicating
>the genetic instance so I could tell which were clones. For
>the species where there is a list of clones it would be good
>to have the clone number built into the unique id.
>
>All this depends on a central naming database however. Does one
>exist? If not, do any of the taxonamists know of an effort to
>get one going? Blocks of IDs could be assigned to organizations;
>if they run out, more would be assigned. IAS seems like a good
>choice for the aroids. IAS could be the keeper of the unique
>ids for members of the family Aracae. If a plant was moved out
>of Aracae, no problem! Some other group now owns that id. If
>two plants are decided to be the same, no problem: the second
>and third columns would be the same for both numbers. If a plant
>changes names, the second and/or third column would change (but
>not the database of an individual grower). Thousands of hybrids
>could get unique ids even though the second column is the same
>for all of them. Would a 32 bit number be sufficient? (allowing
>ids 0 - 4294967295) or would a 64 bit number be needed (allowing
>ids 0 - 18446744073709551615)? If the latter were the case,
>I think I'd need "local" unique ids to keep me from going crazy
>making out the labels, but then again, that's only 20 characters
>at the worst - maybe it's not too bad.
>
>Anyway, the advantages to such a system seem great to
>this member - any other ideas for insulating amateurs from the
>perils of taxonomical changes?
>
>If there is not currently a system in place, and there is support
>for forming one, let's hash out what would work for people and
>I'd be glad to help put some code together to help maintain such
>a system. I'd be doing it for myself anyway! :)
>
>- Todd Ruth
>truth@ucsd.edu
>truth@qualcomm.com

Dear Todd;

?

Jim W.

+More
From: BIHOREL at cris.com (Christian Feuillet) on 1997.01.07 at 16:18:42(60)
>I know no one likes numbers for names, but as a software engineer I
>have to ask.... Is there an international standard for numeric
>designations for species? I'm hoping there is a cdrom set out there
>somewhere that is just a huge list of:
>
>74567862347845 1.2.3.4.5.6.7 additional
+More
From: Todd Ruth <truth at weber.ucsd.edu> on 1997.01.08 at 09:52:00(77)
> Personally I do not like Social Security numbers, I'd rather code with
> music. I'm still looking for somebody who will spent 6 months establishing a
> correspondance between our two systems and the guy who decided to use
> Chinese pictograms. It will save us at least 15 minutes a year changing our
> labels, on the base of a slow 2-label-a-minute rythm.
>
+More
From: BIHOREL at cris.com (Christian Feuillet) on 1997.01.12 at 12:28:19(111)
>By your ability to update in such a short time, I take it you already
>have a key element: a soft copy of a table of species with indications
>of which are synonyms of which. Where do you find one of those? All
>I could find was a table down to the genus level.
>
>With a table to the species level, I could start coding. (That's "coding"
>as in writing software, not making up codes. (I'd also need to clear a
>path to the computer at home, but I think my wife will kill me if I don't
>start cleaning up that mess ayway :).)) Such a table would also
>answer my recent Philodendron questions.
>
>Thanks,
>Todd

+More
From: grsjr at juno.com (George R Stilwell, Jr.) on 1997.01.13 at 07:33:41(115)
The Arisaema Enthusiasts Group has a complete list of Arisaema species
including synonyms. It's not a spread sheet at the moment but I can
import it to 123R5W easily if it would be useful to you.

Ray

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