The scientific names of organisms are the means by which one worker is able to relate his observations or opinions to those of others, and no one would benefit more than the microbiologist from an internationally acceptable and stable nomenclature. A large measure of agreement has already been reached on what constitutes an internationally acceptable name, but because appropriate and universally accepted names only reflect an agreed classification it will require much work by both systematists and experimental microbiologists before stability can be approached in many groups of micro-organisms. As a first step towards the goal microbiologists are urged only to use names which conform to international agreements because such usage makes for precision and at least does not hinder developments in classification. The purpose of this article is to advocate care in the use of names and to draw the attention of those who may wish to propose new taxonomic groupings or to change old names to certain requirements of the International Rules of Nomenclature. Also, systematists frequently feel obliged to make changes in the names of the groups of organisms which they study; changes which may at times seem arbitrary and unnecessary. A knowledge of the International Rules often enables the reasons for such changes to be more fully appreciated and sometimes allows a distinction to be made between name changes which are obligatory on all and those which need not be accepted at once, if ever, when they would disturb some long-established usage.


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