Epithet: a name or term used to describe something.
Keyword: a significant word from a title or document that is used to index content.
Picking the best keyword or list of keywords can make a big difference when searching the Web. As you learn to use better lists of keywords, you will find that the information you are looking for will be easier to locate.
When you type the keywords into a search box, enter only keywords and avoid linking words.
If you want to find information on a subject that uses two or more words (like a title of a book), use quotation marks to link the words. This technique avoids listing pages that use each word separately.
Increase the number of keywords to locate more specific information. If you end up with no results from the search, reduce the number of words until you locate what you need.
There are other ways to search using keywords that require advanced techniques.
Just what is in a name? For science it is often the difference between the common name - like English Violet - and the scientific name, Viola odorata. Most scientists use the scientific name when writing about a plant or animal. So if you want to learn more about English Violets, you are going to have better luck using the scientific name as a one of your keywords.
Most scientific names are based in the Latin language and are sometimes called Latin binomials. Each scientific name has two parts, the genus and the specific name. For example, human beings are called Homo sapiens. Why have two names? Having two names helps to better identify a plant or animal. You can think of them as first and last names. If you want to find someone a the phone book that listed only first names you would not be able to narrow your search very much. All the Janes and Georges would be lumped together. The same would be true for only last names. However, if you use both first and last names the list is much shorter.
Scientists agree on names for each plant and animal to make it easier to communicate. Common names can change in different countries, regions and languages. Scientific names are specific for each plant and animal no matter where you are in the world.
You have probably seen taxonomic listings before. They are the ones that look like what you see in the table below. You might think that scientists have these all memorized, but most of them know only a few and consult textbooks for information on others.
Genus and Specific epithet = scientific name = species
If you ever need to find a complete classification for an animal or plant using the Internet, here are are few tips.
Finding a scientific name - Search using the common name of the plant or animal and the words "scientific name."
Finding a complete plant or animal classification - Once a scientific name is located you can add different combinations of category keywords to find the complete classification.
The saying goes "Garbage in, garbage out, or maybe nothing at all." If what you enter is nonsense, what you get out (if anything) will be nonsense as well. Spelling is important when entering your keywords. Some search engines now provide some basic spell-checking tools. However, many scientific names are not going to be checked. Be careful when typing in keywords for your Web search.
CJ Kazilek. (2009, December 17). Internet Keywords. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved February 23, 2024 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/internet-keywords
CJ Kazilek. "Internet Keywords". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 17 December, 2009. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/internet-keywords
CJ Kazilek. "Internet Keywords". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 17 Dec 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 23 Feb 2024. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/internet-keywords