ERIC Number: ED161426
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Computerization of Synonymy Data from Biological Systematics. Museum Data Bank Research Report Number 9.
Mello, James F.
An outline of biological systematics and the kind of data that comprise it is presented, together with a description of one data convention used in systematics and a method for computerizing synonymic and associated data. Systematics consist of descriptions of species, names applied to these species, and supportive field data such as geographic distribution. Historically, knowledge about plant and animal species is systematized through conventionalized descriptive terminology and the establishment of hierarchical relationships between species and other taxa. As the system grows, there is a need for greater precision in description and inclusion of more features among included species. Therefore, internal growth of systematic data is inevitable, and it creates management problems even for small groups of species. The computer can play a significant role in creating order. Three levels of description in systematics are: taxonomy--application of names to plants and animals; synonomy--recording of taxonomic history and referrals to that species; and morphologic description-detailing of distinguishing characteristics of a species. These levels are well standardized, thereby lending themselves to computerization. This study concentrates on developing efficient methods of data entry and computer processing for synonymic data, making these data increasingly useful as a source of information on research questions. (Author/MBR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, Rochester, NY. Museum Data Bank Committee.