There should, I believe, be a microformat for the markup of plant and animal names, to include their scientific names. Consider:
<abbr class="sci" title="Anas platyrhynchos">Mallard</abbr>
<span class="sci">Anas platyrhynchos</span>
The microformat would allow user agents to be configured to perform look-ups on on-line databases of species, according to user preferences. Specification of the taxonomic class would help user agents to know which such databases were applicable (i.e., use database A for plants, but database B for mammals and database C for insects.)
It would also allow for more specific searching (do I mean "crow" or do I mean "Corvus corone"?).
The specification should encourage, but not mandate, the correct capitalisation of scientific names "Anas platyrhynchos" not "anas platyrhynchos".
A first draft
I'm tending towards this model:
- sci (scientific name)
- bin ("binomial name")
- sub ("subspecies")
- var ("variety")
- subvar ("subvariety")
- cult ("cultivar")
- cultgp ("cultivar group")
- trade ("trade name")
- cross (e.g. "F1")
- year (...of authority)
- cname ("common name")
where all except "bin" are optional, and it is possible to infer from simply:
<abbr class="bin" title="Anas platyrhynchos">Mallard</abbr>
<span class="bin">Anas platyrhynchos</span>
that the genus is Anas and the species is platyrhynchos (and, thus, "bin" is to "sci"; as "adr" is to "vcard")
<span class="sci"> <span class="bin">Larus glaucoides</span> <span class="sub">kumlieni</span> </span>
<span class="sci"> <span class="bin">Pisum sativum</span> var. <span class="var">macrocarpon</span> </span>
<span class="sci"> <abbr class="bin" title="Larus thayeri"> <span class="common">Thayer's Gull</span> </abbr> </span>
<span class="sci"> <abbr class="common" title="Thayer's Gull"> <span class="bin" Larus thayeri</span> </abbr> </span>
<span class="sci"> <abbr class="kingdom" title="Fungi"> <span class="bin">Amanita muscaria</span> </abbr> </span>
<span class="sci"> <span class="bin">Pica pica</span> <span class="authority">Linnaeus</span>, (<span class="year">1758</span>) </span>
The species was classified as <span class="sci"> <abbr class="bin" title="Bartramia longicauda">Tringa longicauda</abbr> by Johann Bechstein in 1812. </span>
- Is "sci" the best attribute name for the top-level?
- Should "bin", var", "cult", etc., be written in full? (I think not, to save bloating file sizes)
- Should other attribute names be abbreviated for brevity?
- Is "class" a potentially confusing attribute name, and what should replace it ("taxoclass", perhaps?)
- What other attribute names are needed, if any (we could do with help from a taxonomist!)
- How to deal with: "Podiceps sp." (a grebe of unknown species)
- Should we allow divisions of "bin" with no parent "sci", such as:
Larus glaucoides kumlieni
- Does "year of authority" need to be an hcal?
Embedding within other microforamts
The proosed plant microformat (with care regime, supplier, etc.), listing or hReview 0.4 (in progress) could contain a scientific name microformat, in the same way that an hCal can contain an hCard.
- Wikipedia: Scientific classification
- International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
- International Code of Botanical Nomenclature *