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Fascinating talk from Kew Gardens on the perils of plant name ambiguity

  • 1.  Fascinating talk from Kew Gardens on the perils of plant name ambiguity

    Posted 08-24-2020 11:52
    Hi, folks--

    The next webinar in the series I'm working with Access Innovations on, "MEANING MATTERS: Practical Applications of Semantic Technology," is about a really interesting topic featuring a really interesting guy, Dr. Bob Allkin, a scientist at The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew who's responsible for their Medicinal Plant Names Services. You may know that Kew is a major custodian of the world's botanical nomenclature.

    His talk is entitled "WHAT'S IN A NAME? How Kew helps drug regulators disambiguate the messy welter of medicinal plant names to shore up regulation and save lives". It's really eye-opening to realize how complicated and imprecise names can get, with multiple scientific, pharmaceutical and popular names for the same thing or with one name used for completely different things.

    This has real-world consequences. For example, the EU mistakenly banned a useful plant we use every day when intending to ban a poisonous one because of a naming problem. How Kew is using semantic and taxonomic tools and technologies to bring order to this complexity (I almost said chaos) is really fascinating. They're also helping to disambiguate nomenclature and provide links to authoritative information for botanical terms for use in journal articles, among other things.

    The webinar is at noon Eastern time on Wednesday, August 26. You can register here. Hope you can join us!

    --Bill Kasdorf

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    Bill Kasdorf
    Principal
    Kasdorf & Associates, LLC
    Ann Arbor MI
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