Making taxonomy proposals more usable by providing more informative filenames

Hello all!

I'm a fan of browsing pending and accepted taxonomy proposals, especially when it comes to finding relatives to the viruses I study. However, past the initial division by host type, there is no way of finding out what exactly a proposal is dealing with until I download them.

For a randomly chosen example, the filename 2021.008B.A.v1.Benedictvirus tells me that a genus of phage is being discussed, but nothing else.

Would it not be infinitely more useful to have some indication of taxonomy on these taxonomy proposals? Ideally of course more information could be provided on the proposals page itself, like a search function to only show proposals on certain taxa. But a simple change in file naming convention, for example to 2021.008B.A.v1.Benedictivrus.Caudoviricetes would already be a huge improvement.

More information could result in larger filenames, but that does not seem like a huge tradeoff for me.

Just a thought :)

  • Hi,

    The ICTV has, in the past, tried to create proposal filenames that provide more detail on the contents of the proposal. We have also tried to provide descriptive tags attached to the files that provided even more detail delineating the proposed taxonomic changes. With the number of proposals increasing (for the 2021 taxonomy there are 172 separate files describing thousands of proposed taxonomic changes), maintaining more descriptive filenames or associated tags became too laborious given that all of these files are manually maintained.We do provide a document that lists all 2021 proposals awaiting ratification that includes a description of the proposed changes (located for now, at 

    In the future, we expect to move to a more automated process for entering and maintaining taxonomic proposals. When this is in place, descriptive text will be much more easily maintained and will move with the file irrespective of its approval status.




    Elliot J. Lefkowitz, Ph.D. | Professor
    Data Secretary | International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses |
    Department of Microbiology |
    UAB | The University of Alabama at Birmingham