Globally Unique Identifier

Dave Vieglais vieglais at KU.EDU
Wed Sep 8 12:53:00 CEST 2004

Hi Kevin,
In addition to other locations, there has been a lot of discussion about
the use of GUIDs in the SEEK project ( which is
also implementing a taxonomic name service and supporting the
development of a Taxonomic Information Exchange Standard (TIES?).

Some relevant discussion appears in the email archives of the taxon
sub-group of the SEEK project, e.g.

and also in the wiki pages for that part of the project:

Additional locations to look are the wiki pages for the taxonomic
transfer schema: and pages
within that site such as

The LSID ( is currently
favored for implementing GUIDs for services such as this.

   Dave Vieglais

Kevin Richards wrote:
> I am a software developer at Landcare Research in New Zealand, where we are
> developing a names taxonomic database and web service.  We are at present
> deciding on a unique identifier that will identify a specific Name,
> Specimen, Vernacular, Reference etc, and would like to add my comments.
> We currently favour a GUID identifier for several reasons:
> - it is guaranteed to be unique globally, and can be created anywhere,
> anytime by any server or client machine
> - it has no meaning as to where the data is physically located and will
> there not confuse any user about this
> - it is not as usable by the user as ids such as integers, and a meaningful
> id can lead to confusion/errors
> - most id mechanisms, especially URI/URN ids require a 'governing body' to
> handle namespaces/urls to ensure every URN is unique, whereas a GUID is
> always unique
> I do think a URL of some kind would be useful for things such as global
> searches of multiple databases, as this will allow the search to go
> directly to the data source where the name, referene, etc comes from.  But
> this should not be part of its ID.  Maybe a name/id should have several
> foms, a GUID for an ID and a URL + a GUID for a fully specified name.
> What are the current thoughts on these ideas?

More information about the tdwg-content mailing list