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

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Fri Jan 7 02:45:29 CET 2011

> Another difficulty is that the community already has a system for handing
> out unique identifiers and extensive systems for managing them - these
> identifiers are scientific names, and the systems are the various
> nomenclatural committees. Isn't it absurd to coin unique, stable identifiers
> when "Ixodes tasmani" is such an identifier already? Isn't that good enough?
> Turns out it isn't: that it actually only uniquely identifies things when
> it's used in a context. Nevertheless, you don't get buy-in unless what you
> are proposing is clearly better than what people already have. It's
> difficult to persuade someone that a human-readable system that has worked
> just fine (more or less) for 300 years needs to be fixed, particularly when
> the fix is 'urn:lsid:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.name:291425'.
Hi Paul,

I am using part of an email from another conversation, but it seems to apply

Why use URI's instead of string literals?

Aren't the semantics the same?

No for a couple of reasons.

Is <scientificName>mus musculus</scientificName> the same as
musculus</scientificName> ?

More importantly by using a "cool URI" http://www.w3.org/TR/cooluris/


Any other statements or data sets with
linked and findable.

This is not the case with the integer id, or a string literal

Also triple and quadstores can handle URI's *much* more efficiently than
plain text or UTF-8 text. (32 bytes per triple)

Lastly, Literals cannot be used as subjects in triples.

Is the current GNI RDF the greatest things since sliced bread?

No, it is a start and a needed part of a system to track name use, name to
name relations and name to concept relations etc.

Also the systems are moving toward formatting the human readable views such
that the URI is replaced with the rdfs:Label.

You can already see this in this example from Sig.ma where the URI's are
replaced in the human view with the names of states etc.


So the human view is the string people are used to seeing, but hidden from
view is the URI that ties that name to other data.


- 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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