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Changing taxon names?

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Changing taxon names?

by welshofficer » Fri May 04, 2012 11:27 am

Hi, I thought I'd ask how the DDb is dealing with changes of taxon names?

When records are imported from MapMate they use the current MapMate names - not yet incorporating all Stace 3 changes, for example.

Are all new names "matched" to their predecessors?

I notice that if you search for Anacamptis morio or Orchis morio, you get the same records (mostly Orchis, but a few new Anacamptis).

Does this mean if a watchlist is set up for a set of taxa, any records for the same taxa by newer names would automatically be included?


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name: Polly Spencer-Vellacott

Re: Changing taxon names?

by admin » Fri May 04, 2012 3:24 pm

Hi Polly,

The change to Stace 3 names is likely to be a gradual process - I'd hoped to have it completed by now, but it's proving (probably unsurprisingly) to be more complicated than I'd anticipated.

The DDb should match synonyms so that old and new names can be used interchangeably. To avoid irreversibly mistakes (and because I'm not qualified to get embroiled in taxonomy) records are kept with the name that they were imported under, rather than being assigned the new accepted version of the name.

It may eventually be worth merging together the myriad of synonyms but that is not something I would like to undertake, and is not urgent.

If the system works correctly then the output of grouped searches will group by and use the new name (otherwise grouping by taxon would become meaningless), whereas other record-level search results will show the original name (but searches using synonyms will still return all results). There should possibly be an option to display all records using accepted names.

In practice not all the new names are in and not all the names are correctly linked up as synonyms (and some synonyms are also currently reversed - with the current name marked as the synonym). Please let me know if you spot mistakes.

The only exception to the above is with imported data that use misspelled names. These are converted to (merged with) the correct version - rather than having spelling mistakes enter the dictionary.


Tom Humphrey
Database Officer, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI)
c/o Centre for Ecology and Hydrology,Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BB, UK.
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