[tdwg-content] InstitutionCode - InstitutionID

John Wieczorek tuco at berkeley.edu
Mon Jul 2 23:44:04 CEST 2012

Hi Aaike,

The institutionID is definitely meant to be a GUID, and as such would
not likely be of much use within an institutional database, where the
institutionID would likely be the same for every record. Instead, it
is meant to identify an institution in a persistent, hopefully
resolvable way, where resolution would be able to give more
information about the identified institution.

Identifiers for institutions do exist. An example is
urn:lsid:biocol.org:col:34777, the institutionID in the Biodiversity
Collections Index for the University of California Berkeley Museum of
Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), within which there are several collections,
each with its distinct collectionID, such as
urn:lsid:biocol.org:col:34818 for the Herpetology Collection at the

The IDs are useful to provide the possibility of a link to other
information that may not be shared in original record. They are also
useful to distinguish the institutions and collections from each
other. For example, MVZ is the acronym used for the Institution as a
whole where the collections are housed, and it is also used
independently by each of the collections when specimens are cited in
literature. In other words, the institutionCode (MVZ) is not distinct
from the collectionCodes (MVZ), and the collectionCodes within the
institution are not unique (all MVZ). The IDs are meant to overcome
this and other problems of reference and uniqueness.

I hope that helps,


On Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 7:03 AM, Aaike De Wever
<aaike.dewever at naturalsciences.be> wrote:
> Dear all,
> While composing a template and recommendations for the Darwin Core fields
> to supply for the BioFresh project
> <http://www.freshwaterbiodiversity.eu/>, similar to what Peter Desmet did
> for herbaria in Apple Core <http://code.google.com/p/applecore/>, I came
> across a number of terms which I haven't yet completely understood and
> hope to get some feedback on from this community.
> Two of these terms are:
> InstitutionCode - InstitutionID
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/institutionCode -
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/institutionID
> The name (or acronym) in use by the institution having custody of the
> object(s) or information referred to in the record. / An identifier for
> the institution having custody of the object(s) or information referred to
> in the record.
> I guess that the latter term is supposed to be a DOI/GUID for the
> institute, but am wondering if there is such a thing or whether this field
> is rather for internal database purposes?
> Any advise would be appreciated!
> With best regards,
> --
> Aaike De Wever
> BioFresh Science Officer
> Freshwater Laboratory, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
> Vautierstraat 29, 1000 Brussels
> Belgium
> tel.: +32(0)2 627 43 90
> mobile.: +32(0)486 28 05 93
> email: <aaike.dewever at naturalsciences.be>
> skype: aaikew
> AIM: aaike at mac.com
> LinkedIn: <http://be.linkedin.com/in/aaikedewever>
> BioFresh: <http://www.freshwaterbiodiversity.eu/> and
> <http://data.freshwaterbiodiversity.eu/>
> Belgian Biodiversity Platform: <http://www.biodiversity.be>
> _______________________________________________
> tdwg-content mailing list
> tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org
> http://lists.tdwg.org/mailman/listinfo/tdwg-content

More information about the tdwg-content mailing list