Toponyms, or place names, can tell you a great deal about the history, geography, wildlife, or people of an area. The video below from the always entertaining Otherwords series is packed full of fun bits of history and trivia. In it, you’ll learn that the longest place name in the US (Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg) falls far short of the longest one word place name in the world (New Zealand’s Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukaka­piki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­ki­tana­tahu). Those interested in discussing more about toponyms are invited to meet on my next trip into the place for gathering wood for making bows (Manhattan).

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


1 Thought on "Fun with Toponyms"

As David says, “place names, can tell you a great deal about the history, geography, wildlife, or people”. So therefore, why is there no metadata associated with publications about the locality(ies) studied? Perhaps two-thirds of all papers have something about locality, which can be at any scale, (continent, even galaxy, to exact 2m location), may involve multiple sites, different languages, with no consistency as to which level is talked about in searchable text (country, village, lake/desert, etc.) It would be very useful to have the ability to click on a map to find all studies of organisms in the clicked locality. Are there any plans or ways to do this?

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