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Introduction - NameBank separates facts from opinions

NameBank contains nomenclatural metadata that is not in dispute

NameBank is composed of factually-related data elements. These elements, once correctly recorded, are persistent and applicable to any subjective treatement.

Experts may disagree over how an organism should be classified and what specimens might actually refer to a taxon. This is a healthy aspect of systematics. Effectively modelling this within an information system is a matter of continued contention but this belies the fact that many data elements within taxonomy are not in contention. Nomenclatural (homotypic) relationships, recorded instances of names within publications, and recorded uses of vernacular names with scientific names are based on objective criteria. One may dispute their valid usage but not their objective basis.

This separation of objective reference nomenclature from any particular subjective treatment allows any accrued factual knowledge within NameBank to be made available to any subsequent subjective use of the name. This also provides a foundation for collaboration with other names-gathering initiatives.

Examples Basis
Authority and Publication viridescens is described by Rafinesque and placed in the genus, Triturus in Ann. Nat. Lexington, 1(22) resulting in the new name Triturus viridescens Objective
Homotypic variation Notophthalmus viridescens is a new combination of the same viridescens Objective
Cited use "Notophthalmus viridescens" appears in Smith, 1953, Herpetologica, 9:95-99 Objective
Use of vernacular forms "Common Newt" co-occurs with Notophthalmus viridescens in Stejneger and Barbour, 1907 Checklist of N. Amer. Amphibians Objective
Homotypic variation Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens appears in Handbook of Salamanders (Bishop 1943) and is based on the same viridescens Objective
Misspellings Notophthalma viridescens is a misspelling of Notophthalmus viridescens appearing in Proc. Zool. Soc. London Objective
Non-objective Salamandra dorsalis, Harlan, 1829, is determined to be synonymous with viridescens by Baird, 1850. Subjective

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