Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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The Catalogue of Life Editor's View on Globally Unique Identifiers for Names
Yuri Roskov

Building: CTEC
Room: Auditorium
Date: 2016-12-08 09:45 AM – 10:00 AM
Last modified: 2016-10-16


The Catalogue of Life (CoL) is a global taxonomic catalogue of valid species through all domains. It is built as a curated assembly of expert based Global Species Databases (GSDs). CoL gives each scientific name record in the database a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) and delivers Name GUIDs to CoL users.

  • CoL community of taxonomists emphasizes that global nomenclators (and designated nomenclatural act registers) such as IPNI, MicoBank, ZooBank, etc. should be a starting point for an intelligent "ecosystem" of Name GUIDs. Only curated nomenclators, which are documenting scientific names with published nomenclatural acts and references, can play a role of an authoritative Name GUIDs emitters (I mean, really "global" and really "unique"). Taxonomic databases should capture Name GUIDs from nomenclators. Then GUIDs can be populated into aggregators such as CoL, EoL, GBIF, etc.
  • Only taxonomic databases (incl. GSDs) can deploy and curate taxonomic concepts and emit Taxon GUIDs. Biodiversity data aggregators should capture Taxon GUIDs from taxonomic databases.
  • CoL database contains NameGUID and GSDTaxonGUID fields for storing global identifiers harvested from GSDs. Species 2000 community of taxonomic databases agreed to these fields in 2010. However, at present, only 556,051 species and infraspecific names have NameGUIDs in the CoL (31% of the CoL).
  • Previous CoL experiments with implementation of Taxon LSIDs (2008-2012, www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2009/info_2009_checklist.php) cannot be regarded as successful. There was an incorrect assumption that CoL was capable of handling Taxon GUIDs in its existing model of data assembly and updates.