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Posts tagged ‘names’

2014 UC Boulder Meaning of Names Conference in Review

A relatively short review of the timely conference “The Meaning of Names: Naming Diversity in the 21st Century”, held on September 30 to October 2nd, 2014, and organized by Rob Guralnick and the University of Colorado at Boulder Museum of Natural History.

I have uploaded the Conference Program for reference. I gave an update on Euler/X, the slides are shared again here. Some photos of the conference participants are posted on Flickr.

Having had an opportunity to present for 30 minutes allowed me to review some general ideas about names and concepts and apparently (given positive reactions) made the presentation more accessible. A number of engaging and thematically diverse presentations were in the line-up, although the diversity of domains of application did not necessarily mean immediate directional friction. Names – the “right ones” – remain essential to information transmission that employs human cognition and memorization. Among other fleeting observations, it seemed clear to me that the standard OBO Foundry approach to fixating the meaning of terms is not all that biodiversity informatics needs to integrate taxonomically annotated data. I also think we are at the cusp of separating more clearly and consistently what conventional taxonomic names can achieve for human communication, and what they need to achieve in addition to support scalable computational integration. Two Global Names Architecture presentations (Ellinor Michel and David Patterson, respectively) pointed that way. To what extent the “additional layer” for logic integration is needed, and justified by apparent representational and infrastructural costs, was an underlying theme of the conference. In other words – progress.

Franz. 2014. Explaining taxonomy’s legacy to computers – how and why? from taxonbytes

Taxonomic names, identifications, and concepts – how to reconcile?

This post is motivated by my (late) discovery of the GBIF “Guidelines for the capture and management of digital zoological names information” (Version 1.1, released in March 2013), authored by Dr. Francisco Welter-Schultes who is (i.a.) the project leader of the resource Jump to the Addendum [response to Stephen Thorpe, May 06, 2014].

The GBIF Guidelines, a dense, informative, and authoritative 126-page document on representing and managing zoological names (which, as GBIF makes clear, ultimately reflects the author’s perspective), also include (pages 3-5) a Section 1.1.2 on Taxon concept models. I found this section to contain a mix of more or less accurate statements and assessments of the interaction among taxonomic names, identification events, and taxonomic concepts. This issue is of interest to me, and has on occasion been discussed on Taxacom, in the TDWG community, and elsewhere. I (henceforth NMF, regular font) will take the opportunity to examine Dr. Welter-Schultes’ (henceforth FWS, italics) perspectives and examples, point by point. Hopefully some readers will find this post helpful.

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