Nomenclature as a standardised metadata system for ordering and accessing information about plants

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Lawson, Charles
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Lawson, C

Adhikari, K

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2018
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Abstract

Biological taxonomy involves ordering organisms into groupings and has a number of purposes – identifying an unfamiliar organism, a convenient and practical way to know what is being discussed, an orderly system for storing and retrieving information, showing kinship relationships between organisms, constructing classes about which inductive generalisations might be made, and so on.1 The organism once ordered into a particular grouping, however, then needs a classification identifier (a name) so that individuals in a particular grouping can be distinguished from individuals in other groupings: ‘[t]he botanist is distinguished from the layman in that [s/]he can give a name which fits one particular plant and not another, and which can be understood by anyone the world over’.2 A name is, therefore, fundamental to being able to communicate about organisms3 (especially in commerce)4 and as an anchor for mobilising, serving, integrating and exchanging information5 – ‘names are mere cyphers which are easier to use than lengthy descriptions’.6 This also means that along with the development of taxonomy goes the important development of naming or nomenclature, being the technique of naming:7

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Biodiversity, Genetic Resources and Intellectual Property: Developments in Access and Benefit Sharing

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Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified

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