[tdwg-content] Taxon Concept dilemma

Kevin Richards RichardsK at landcareresearch.co.nz
Mon Jul 5 05:43:59 CEST 2010

Hello all,

I have an issue that I would like some comment on...

We have some data that covers Taxa, Names and Concept relationships.

-          A Taxon table that contains the nomenclatural details + accepted name + parent name

-          Concept + relationship tables that contain details about the name + references where the name has been used in a taxonomic sense (ie not nomenclatural information) - this is specifically a link between the Name and a Reference

We have fairly permanent Ids for the Taxon Name (nomenclatural) and the Concepts, but I now what to consider the ID to cover the whole Taxon (ie the Nomenclatural data + taxon rank + parent name + accepted name, etc, as "we" understand them).  (Probably equivalent to the taxonID in Dwc)

The problem is this tends to be much more dynamic data - ie, in this particular case we have aggregated data from a variety of providers and are in continual revision of this data - as we revise the data the details such as the accepted name may change - this troubles me a bit, because this could be seen as fundamentally changing the definition of the object behind the taxonID.  However, I suspect this is a common case that people find themselves in - ie revision/tidying of aggregated datasets must be quite common.

I would prefer to NOT change the taxonID every time we revise that data (taking the angle that these changes are corrections, so are not changing the object itself).
Should it be OK to have an object type like this, that is likely to change, but keep the ID permanent for it - ie accept that some object types are quite dynamic?

The only other option is to maintain a hideous version audit trail, that probably hinders the use of the data more than it benefits the end user by providing "stability".

Any thoughts?


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