Interpreting hand-written Species names
Came across a label with the species name (and some other data) in hand writing. At least it was 'printing' rather than cursive. Still, I found it very difficult to interpret. I worked my way through the sites search function which offers a suggested name as you enter what you think you have.
The site has "1,040,426 scientific plant names of species rank." Of those, "298,900 are accepted species names." The site is The Plant List. But the list is segregated into "Accepted", "Synonyms" and "Unresolved". Each search result has a list of names and the status (one of the three segregated groups), a "confidence level" rating and a "source". The details on these results are at the Statistics explanations page.
I'd appreciate the scientists/admins visiting that site to verify it as a possible tool for determining some of the problems we might face with hand written species info.
by robgur scientist, admin
Yes a taxonomic authority list is a good idea. The issue with getting a correct taxon name is a non-trivial one and I appreciate the effort to find out how to proceed. Its also something we work on to varying degrees in my lab here at CU Boulder. Since the tags that we are all transcribing might not have currently valid names but older names that have since been changed, you definitely want to look across all name categories. At some point, we (or someone) will need to go back through and check all the name variants on the labels and see if they match to some current valid name. I hope this makes a bit of sense? Its something of a complicated issue!
There are several links on the Plant List site that also can be used. Specifically, the IPNI site has a detailed search function. However, it is case-sensitive! That means you need to capitalize the species name. That's not very 'user-friendly' to lazy folks like me! 😦
To check my interpretation of the spelling, I enter my best guess into the Dogpile search engine. If I get it right, or fairly close, I get hits. I check the hit against the writing and usually I'm convinced. Otherwise I try again.
It seems to help that I come from that area of Virginia and the handwriting is sort of familiar. I've seen similar writing.
If I have no clue, I leave it blank or enter dashes or skip that specimen.