Leala Abbott, one of my favorite taxonomists, posted a great article today providing insight into her taxonomy development process. As it should be, simplicity is the rule of the day. When faced with creating a taxonomy where there is either scant existing data to work from and/or in which you are not a bonafide subject matter expert (and even if you are), why not consider buying a book on the subject?
Now, the book should not be just any old book – rather a well established and current authoritative source – like buying or referencing a Janson text for art history. Leala describes a bit more about her selection criteria.
Most importantly, I applaud that this tip provides an obvious but often overlooked starting point for anyone creating a taxonomy. And, it is true that taxonomists need to not only enjoy developing proficiency efficiently on a wide variety of topics, but that the index of the selected book or books may provide a bit of a framework as well.