Globally Unique Identifier

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Tue Oct 5 11:35:49 CEST 2004

Richard's points about unifying to observations are very good and
relevant to use. Indeed reexamination possibilities are not 100%
dependent on collection versus observation-only data. The
reexamination of a film or still picture is somewhat intermediate
between the reexamination of field notes and of an actual specimen.
Certain questions can be asked, others not. However, the main point
is that these are properties of the observation and that more cases
exist than museum or not.

I basically disgree about assigning GUIDs to physical objects, if
these are not unambigously attached to the object, rather than to one
of possibly several data records. I have no problem if a barcode or
RFID is a GUID rather than a local ID. I think it is not practical to
demand all museums to change their physical system to a GBIF-chosen
accession numbering system. It certainly would simplify life - I
agree about desirability!

> I'm not sure I understand the question.  I guess I would answer with
> another question:  How does a Social Security Number (SSN) for a U.S.
> Citizen > get attached to an individual person?  I don't think anyone would
> think of a SSN as an identifier for a data object -- it is a unique
> identifier for the physical person.

Yes, but the association problem is solved here - and NOT by
unreliable secondary data. You can ask a person to show you the
government-produced SSN-card, which is at least somewhat difficult to
falsify. If you can do the same with a physical specimen object - no
problem. If you cannot, and have to "guess" the GUID by maiden name
and last known address, SSN would be in trouble.

Gregor Hagedorn (G.Hagedorn at
Institute for Plant Virology, Microbiology, and Biosafety
Federal Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA)
Königin-Luise-Str. 19           Tel: +49-30-8304-2220
14195 Berlin, Germany           Fax: +49-30-8304-2203

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