IOC world list

To: Tony Keene <>
Subject: IOC world list
From: Geoff Bowen <>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2011 22:26:47 +0100
Hi Tony & John

I've been using the IOC list as the basis for my birding database for several years now. As Tony has said, it's handy to have a system that can cope with the taxonomic flux that we find ourselves in these days. My solution has been to allocate a unique reference to each entry to help track each taxon should it be demoted to a subspecies (or even re-promoted to species). This also requires a unique reference for the family & for the order, which I then apply to each taxon after each IOC release. The unique reference is assigned as new taxons are found from a incremental counter (and thus can be extended without worry), the taxonomic sequence is obtained via the order & family values. I have suggested to Frank Gill that something similar to the unique reference is used for tracking in the IOC list to make changes easier to identify. If you have a database containing many years of sightings and the vernacular and/or scientific name changes, it makes life interesting to try to update your database without such a feature, which for many of us is the reason behind moving to an internationally accepted list such as the IOC.

To achieve this, I re-process the IOC list to pad it with the details of order & family on each line of the Master list, splitting the genus & the specific in the scientific name, match this to my existing data to produce a new edition. I have written various database scripts to take the grunt out of the processing, but there is still a little manual intervention required for mismatches.

For my own purposes, I have added some distinctive subspecies (which are only in Clements' list currently - V3 IOC notwithstanding), and also various odds & ends like the occasional hybrid or invalid taxon.

I'm happy to share this should anyone be interested.

Best regards

Geoff Bowen
Norwich, UK

On 12/04/2011 04:59, Tony Keene wrote:
Hi John,

  Funnily enough, I had a go at this idea a while back. I used the (then 
current) IOC list and assigned each family a two-letter code and then each 
species a five-number code. This meant that unless you had more than one 
hundred subspecies, you'd never run out of numbers. I wanted to do this so that 
even every subspecies had a number (and also ssp. that were dubious had one) 
and even given lumps, splits, changes of genera, family and species names and 
also English names, the number remained constant. The other advantage was that 
it worked in different languages with different taxonomic standards.
  I got as far as writing the idea up and assigning letter codes for all 
familes and number codes for a few thousand species (and one or two sets of 
subspecies), but never had time to carry it on.
  I did have a nice email conversation with Frank Gill about it and he said 
another group was looking into a similar project.
  If anyone is interested, I can send on a copy of the (old) list and the 
write-up on how it works.


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