[tdwg-content] most GUIDs/URIs for names/taxon stuff not ready for prime time

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Thu Jan 6 08:16:14 CET 2011

>  IPNI seemed to work.  However, I was somewhat appalled to observe that
> they seem to change the revision identifier any time that they change
> any part of the metadata.  That renders the LSID useless as a permanent
> GUID for the name and I believe is inconsistent with the design of LSIDs
> where the revision is only supposed to change if the underlying data
> itself (NOT metadata) changes.

It is my understanding that this is exactly how LSID's are supposed to work
and one reason I don't like them.

> [sorry - didn't try zoobank since I was looking for plants]

I have tried ZooBank and those LSID's seem to work.

> I don't know which (if any) of the Web sites listed on Rod's status page
> use generic HTTP URI guids (rather than LSIDs) to refer to taxon names.
> I tried out the Global Names index that Pete was mentioning.  The URI
> version of the UUIDs (e.g.
> http://gni.globalnames.org/name_strings/3a70f04d-fd29-5570-ba91-52dae0c3d07f
> )
> do resolve under content negotiation, but the only useful information
> that the RDF representation seems to provide is the actual name string
> that was used to generate the UUID.  Until some other useful linked
> information is added to the RDF, there doesn't seem to be much advantage
> in pointing a semantic client to the URI over just using a string
> literal for the name.
Yes, this is one reason this part of the GNI is still experimental, but the
idea is that these can be further developed to expose RDF that

1) Indicates what contributing databases contain that namestring

2) Links to the resolution group which contains all the variations of that
name string (It might make the most sense to have the linkto's there)

3) These will then be tied to various types of TaxonConcepts, TNU's etc.

I can't speak for the GNI or GNA but my understanding is that the initial
goal is to get all the names used into one very large repository.

> So the bottom line is that of the LSID services for names that I've
> tried so far, only ubio.org seems to have LSIDs for names that are
> unchanging, can work as a proxied URI,  and that produce actual useful
> RDF.  That's pretty disappointing given the apparently huge amount of
> work that's been put into building these various systems.
I think that part of the problem is that LSID's are really only used and
advocated by a small group within the larger informatics community.

They do not benefit from all the related tools and code that already exists
for the general semantic web and linked data community.

In addition, some of the problems you experience are the result of the
design of LSID's - to add versioning they lost stability.

The assumption is that you will write the tools that understand that LSIDs
are different from LOD identifiers and process them accordingly.

How has that assumption held up?


- Pete

Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
TaxonConcept Knowledge Base <http://www.taxonconcept.org/> / GeoSpecies
Knowledge Base <http://lod.geospecies.org/>
About the GeoSpecies Knowledge Base <http://about.geospecies.org/>
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