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Analysis of the Prometheus Taxonomic Model and comparison with Berlin Model


This report is based on:

Cédric Raguenaud, Martin R. Pullan, Mark F. Watson, Jessie B. Kennedy, Mark F. Newman, Peter J. Barclay, "Implementation of the Prometheus Taxonomic Model: a comparison of database models and query languages and an introduction to the Prometheus Object-Oriented Model" Taxon 51(1), pp 131-142, February 2002.

Tables and associations

_Circumscription _(super class for _!TaxonomicName _and Specimen)

_Name _(super class for all name classes)

*!TaxonomicName _*inherits from _Name _and from _Circumscription _and has references to the responsible publication and _author; it further has a relation to other instances of _!TaxonomicName _to model the _placement _in the taxonomic tree.

*!WorkingName _*inherits from _Name, contains preliminary / temporary names. Thus _!WorkingName _has no references to _publication _and _author _it is used to assign names to a Taxon which have no literature reference.

The _*Epithet _*is kept in a separate class associated with the _!TaxonmonicName. _

The Prometheus Taxonomic Model distinguishes three different kinds of names which are the ‘calculated names’, the ‘ascribed names’ and the ‘working names’, whereas the first two kinds are different roles of a TaxonomicName in the model. An ‘ascribed ‘name is a name which has been published in literature. A ‘calculated name’ is always generated by the system itself.

The article states nothing about the status of taxonomic names. So far it is unclear if and how these are reflected. Modeling of relations between taxonomic names like the basionym relation seems to be missing in the Prometheus Taxonomic Model.

The Rank of a taxonomic name is modeled by the relation ‘Placement’ which connects one _!TaxonomicName _with many others forming a tree like structure by this.

Compared with Berlin Model

In the Berlin Model names are held in contrast to the Prometheus Taxonomic Model in only single table named Name. The _Name _table has fields to hold the genus name, the genus subdivision epithet, the species epithet and the infra species epithet. In addition to these there exists also a cache field to hold the computed name. The cache field can also used to assign a preliminary not atomized name. Since a Name may, but not has to have a nomenclatural reference, this functionality corresponds to the _!WorkingName _table in the Prometheus Taxonomic Model.

Berlin Model reflects a names rank as an attribute of a _Name _but as a relation between two names. It is further possible to exactly express a taxonomic names status and the relations between them. These properties are modeled by the _!NomStatusRel _table and be the _!RelName _table which has two relations to the _Name _table.

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