Taxonomy is divisible into three parts: (1) classification, (2) nomenclature, (3) identification. There are rules of nomenclature but none for classification or identification. Six principles are postulated for classification of bacteria and three ways of making identifications are discussed. Both classification and identification depend on characterization of the bacterium, but each makes different use of the individual feature. In classification equal weight is given to each independent character; in identification characters are weighted, some as important (distinguishing), others less so. Exception is taken to the retroactive application of the rules of nomenclature, and the unrealistic starting date (1753) of bacterial nomenclature is criticized. Names act merely as labels and it is suggested that a sequential code should be used, not only as a substitute for a name, but as a means of conveying information about the characters of the organism.


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