Monday, January 11, 2016

Where is the damned collection?

Charles Davies Sherborn (30 June 1861 – 22 June 1942) was an English taxonomist who described himself as '’a magpie” with a “card-index mind'. Sherborn wrote the famous Index Animalium, an 11 volume, 9,000 page work that catalogued the 444,000 names of every living and extinct animal discovered between 1758 and 1850. This work is considered the bibliographic foundation for current zoological nomenclature and he single-handedly worked 43 years on it. 

Until now, Sherborn’s contribution has been recognized and relied upon by professional taxonomists worldwide but he has escaped the celebration of his accomplishment that is his due. This changed on 28 October 2011, with a symposium held in his honour at the Natural History Museum (NHM), London, on the 150th year of his birth. 

The symposium included an international panel of experts on bibliography and biodiversity bioinformatics who linked a view of the past with an active debate on the future of these related fields. All talks were recorded and online material includes slides and poster downloads. The resulting papers were published last week in ZooKeys and here they are. The papers in this volume fall into three general areas. In the first section, seven papers present different facets of Sherborn as a man, scientist and bibliographer, and describe the historical context for taxonomic indexing from the 19th century to today. In the second section, five papers (with a major appendix) discuss current tools and innovations for bringing legacy information into the modern age. The final section, with three papers, tackles the future of biological nomenclature, including innovative publishing models and the changing tools and sociology needed for communicating taxonomy.

Ellinor Michel

Neal Evenhuis

Karolyn Shindler

Gordon McOuat

Giles Miller

Michael A. Taylor

Edward C. Dickinson

Christian Thompson, Thomas Pape

Suzanne C. Pilsk, Martin R. Kalfatovic, Joel M. Richard

Francisco Welter-Schultes, Angela Görlich , Alexandra Lutze

Christopher Lyal

David Remsen

Lyubomir Penev, Alan Paton, Nicola Nicolson, Paul Kirk, Richard Pyle, Robert Whitton, Teodor Georgiev, Christine Barker, Christopher Hopkins, Vincent Robert, Jordan Bisserkov, Pavel Stoev

Roderic Page

Richard Pyle

Miguel Alonso-Zarazaga, Philippe Bouchet, Richard Pyle, Nikita Kluge, Daphne Fautin
Manual for proposing a Part of the List of Available Names (LAN) in Zoology

Very interesting reads and a nice combination of history and contemporary thoughts on naming in the digital age. I particularly liked Rod Page's quote: DNA barcoding may give a new lease of life to old names.

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