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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 07:41   #1
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HBW Alive

Ferran Gil, Lynx Edicions, 30 May 2014...
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'Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology' by James A. Jobling

What does that mean? It's the question we've all asked ourselves with respect to some (or many!) of the scientific names that ornithologists throughout history have given to bird species within the system devised by Linnaeus. HBW Alive is now pleased to put in the hands of its users the ability to quickly learn the meaning and derivation of the Latin names of each and every one of the world's birds. James A. Jobling, a world authority on the subject since the publication in 1991 of his book A dictionary of scientific bird names, has given us the possibility of incorporating in HBW Alive an enormous amount of interesting information on this subject. Now all we need to do is put the cursor on each of the words that make up a scientific name–genus, species and subspecies–to immediately satisfy our curiosity.

Let's try this, for example, with the scientific name of the Budgerigar, Melopsittacus undulatus. It will definitely be easier to remember this name in the future if we know that Melopsittacus comes from the union of the two Greek words melos (μελος) and psittakos (ψιττακος) meaning, respectively, "song" and "parrot", while undulatus in Latin means "that which is furnished with wave-like markings." Or we can look at Puna Flamingo, Phoenicoparrus jamesi, whose name derives from the Greek phoenix (φοινιξ), "red", and Latin parra, used to designate a type of waterfowl, and where jamesi refers to the British naturalist and businessman Harry B. James, who lived in Chile.

This tool opens up a world of curious facts that will allow us to know even more about the birds of our interest.

This new product, the Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology, has been devised by James A. Jobling exclusively for HBW Alive and it's not intended to be published in paper. Many thanks to James for this important collaboration.
Well done, James. Should be very useful!
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 15:57   #2
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Indeed, what a wonderful feature. My gratitude to all concerned.
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 17:24   #3
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I wonder if there is any prospect of adoption of the feature by field guide apps? I'd love to see it in the Sibley app, for example, which I consult much more often than I do HPW Alive to which of course the great majority of birders don't subscribe.
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 17:45   #4
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It looks like the word "exclusively" will mean no ...

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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 17:50   #5
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Quote:
It will definitely be easier to remember this name in the future if we know that Melopsittacus comes from the union of the two Greek words melos (μελος) and psittakos (ψιττακος) meaning, respectively, "song" and "parrot", while undulatus in Latin means "that which is furnished with wave-like markings."
Whilst very interesting in itself, not sure about the 'it will definitely make it easier to remember' bit. Quite hard enough to remember Latin names to start with, but dissecting and translating is only likely to work for me if dealing with a few names only :)
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 18:44   #6
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It looks like the word "exclusively" will mean no ...
Yeah, I saw that too but was hoping it just referred to print vs digital. Most field guides of course would only require a small subset of the complete database.
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 18:59   #7
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Whilst very interesting in itself, not sure about the 'it will definitely make it easier to remember' bit. Quite hard enough to remember Latin names to start with, but dissecting and translating is only likely to work for me if dealing with a few names only :)
Sure, 10,000++ species but a much much smaller number of Greek/Latin roots which recur in name after name--ptero, melano, dromo, cyano etc etc. It's in expanding my vocabulary of these roots that I expect to derive most benefit from the database. Done me some good already, in fact: never knew phoenix = "red" before and don't know that I ever would have guessed it. But I'm sure I won't forget it.
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 19:09   #8
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Thanks, I use HBW Alive and find it extremely useful

Can you add a voice pronunciation of the Latin names!!!!! when you click on them

Well done Richard
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 19:13   #9
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Can you add a voice pronunciation of the Latin names!!!!! when you click on them
That could be controversial! eg, see Latin Pronunciation Demystified. I favour classical pronunciation (mainly because it's what I learnt at school!), but many English-speaking birders use the 'English method' (which I find abhorrent, especially the vowels/diphthongs).
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Well done Richard
I'm just the messenger. Thank James Jobling!

Last edited by Richard Klim : Saturday 31st May 2014 at 20:13. Reason: typo.
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Old Saturday 31st May 2014, 20:36   #10
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Kudos to James for getting this incorporated into HBW Alive. One improvement over the print version of the dictionary is the type species being given for genus-group names. Thanks for this!

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Old Sunday 1st June 2014, 12:44   #11
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Some explanations.
The incorporation of my manuscript Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology into HBWAlive should be regarded as Phase 1 of an ongoing exercise. My Key has been carried wholesale onto that website, including my take on generic and specific boundaries. For example, if you look up the specific name Parula americana you will see a whole raft of specific epithets incorporating americ/americana/americanus, and not just Parula americana.
Phase 2 will follow my absorption of the indexes in HBW Special Volume and, when published, the Illustrated Checklist, after which, with edit permissions, I will be able to adjust and split the various entries, including the nomenclature used therein. At present there is no time-scale for Phase 2.
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Old Sunday 1st June 2014, 14:45   #12
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Wonderful, James; I'm very happy about this -- and you've made my mind up for me as to whether to renew my subscription.
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Old Sunday 1st June 2014, 19:40   #13
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Fantastic, a whole new dimension, great that you were willing to make this treasure trove available, my thanks.
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Old Monday 2nd June 2014, 00:02   #14
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The Greekphoenix = "red". Is this correct?

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(mythology)
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Old Monday 2nd June 2014, 08:11   #15
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Oxford Dictionary of English...
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phoenix ...
– ORIGIN from Old French fenix, via Latin from Greek phoinix 'Phoenician, reddish purple, or phoenix'. The relationship between the Greek senses is obscure: it could not be 'the Phoenician bird' because the legend centres on the temple of Heliopolis in Egypt, where the phoenix is said to have burnt itself on the altar. Perhaps the basic sense is 'purple', symbolic of fire and possibly the primary sense of Phoenicia as the purple land (or land of the sunrise).
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Old Monday 2nd June 2014, 08:11   #16
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Originally Posted by 8669 View Post
The Greek phoenix = "red". Is this correct?
Among other significations. Liddell & Scott:
Quote:
B. φοῖνιξ , ι_κος, ὁ, purple or crimson, because the discovery and earliest use of this colour was ascribed to the Phoenicians [...]:—hence,
2. as Adj. (fem. “φοίνισσα” [...]), blood-bay, of a horse [...]; of red cattle, “φοίνισσα ἀγέλα” [...], [...] of the colour of fire, “φοίνισσα φλόξ” [...], etc.
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Old Wednesday 4th June 2014, 13:00   #17
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Thumbs up James, what a splendid extension!

Yet another great contribution to the advancement and knowledge (and accesibility!) regarding the Etymology of scientific bird names!

From this time forth I assume the HBW Alive will be a frequent source of reference here on BirdForum!

Cheers!

Björn

PS. And good luck with phase 2.

PPS. How do you like us to cite this new source (not necessarily here, but in a traditional "List of reference")?

Last edited by Calalp : Wednesday 4th June 2014 at 13:25. Reason: PPS.
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Old Friday 6th June 2014, 16:15   #18
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Question James, about the citation ...

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Originally Posted by Calalp View Post
How do you like us to cite this new source (not necessarily here, but in a traditional "List of reference")?
Will this do?
Jobling, J. A. (2014). Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology. In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (Retrieved 6 June 2014, online HBW Alive: http://www.hbw.com/node/52409).

Or how would you prefer it?

Why not add a "Recommended citation-box" on (or in connection to) "your" HBW Alive pages as well ... like the ones on every species account?

Cheers!
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Old Friday 6th June 2014, 18:43   #19
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Björn,
What you suggest seems comprehensive enough. However, my only reference is, "Notes for Authors. Preparing References and Bibliographies" issued by OUP in 1989, i.e. before computers and the web were invented, thus identifying me as a dinosaur or fuddy-duddy!! Elsewhere, in respect of another site, I have seen the citation "Available from www.xeno-canto.org (accessed 11 March 2014)". I am waiting to hear from Ferran Gil and Josep del Hoyo as to HBWAlive preference.
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Old Saturday 7th June 2014, 23:01   #20
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Originally Posted by Richard Klim View Post
I had assumed that James's new key to scientific names was accessible only to HBW Alive subscribers, but actually there seems to be unrestricted access (anyway, I can access it even when logged out of HBW Alive):
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Jobling View Post
I am astounded that my Key has suddenly reached such a large audience. I hope everybody remembers that it is a work in progress, and, once I get edit permissions, still subject to corrections and changes (some of which have been heralded on BirdForum).
As far as I can see, Lynx has (so far) only publicised the Key to HBW Alive subscribers (via the 'New Features' thread). But, assuming that the current unrestricted access is not just a mistake, it offers all birders/ornithologists immediate access to this fascinating subject (without recourse to specialist literature or speculative web surfing). Hopefully, it will stimulate much wider interest in (and awareness of) scientific names...
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Old Thursday 26th June 2014, 18:18   #21
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HBW Alive - Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology
Björn, in response to your enquiries and valuable suggestions about citation (#17, #18) Ferran Gil of Lynx Edicions has created an automatic cite block at the end of each definition page. You will see that the recommended citation is almost identical to the one suggested in your #18. Your input is much appreciated.
Readers should also remember that my Key is not just for HBW Alive members only; everybody can view the etymologies, as they can also browse trimmed versions of the HBW Alive texts. To provide a worthwhile and accurate site readers may post comments, updates and new information for my Key under this thread or independently on the Etymology Subforum.
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Old Thursday 9th April 2015, 08:38   #22
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New overview (7 Apr 2015): "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology" by James A. Jobling.
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Old Friday 18th September 2015, 09:33   #23
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Accessibility

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Originally Posted by James Jobling View Post
Not wishing to blow my own trumpet, but you could also have found the answer to your query on the free site HBWAlive Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology.
James
Incidentally, although it's great that Lynx Edicions has provided free access to the Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology, it's a pity that the facility remains rather hidden and poorly publicised. HBW Alive subscribers will of course be aware of it via the email Newsletters and the relevant New features news items (30 May 2014, 7 Apr 2015), but for a non-subscriber, there's no indication on the HBW Alive Home page of the availability/accessibility of the key. And even for non-subscribers who have heard about it, there's no obvious means (other than Google) of navigating to the Key search page.

Last edited by Richard Klim : Friday 18th September 2015 at 09:41.
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Old Wednesday 6th April 2016, 08:11   #24
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BIRDS Alive 22 (Apr 2016)...
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Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology

As we explained in previous news, James A. Jobling, author of the well-known and acclaimed Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (1991) and the Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (2010), is generously participating in HBW Alive by incorporating an enormous amount of information related to the etymology of scientific bird names.

James has continued his tremendous work and recently completed a major round of editing, reviewing numerous entries and adding more titles to the list of References. Right now the Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology has 28,195 entries with explanations of more than 34,700 names! With over 3378 pages and 695,500 words, if printed it would be heftier than War and Peace, Les Misérables or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now imagine all of that at your finger-tips... Just roll your cursor over any word in a scientific name on any page of HBW Alive and discover a new and interesting subject which will enhance your knowledge of the world of birds!
Much appreciated, James.

Last edited by Richard Klim : Wednesday 6th April 2016 at 08:14.
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Old Wednesday 6th April 2016, 09:06   #25
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Much appreciated, James.
Hear, hear!
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