[tdwg-content] synonyms in DwC Archives

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Tue Mar 18 22:44:15 CET 2014

Sticking strictly to Darwin Core and not adding RDF, I think there are a couple of DwC terms that are attributes that can be used to identify a synonym:

taxonomicStatus - The status of the use of the scientificName as a label for a taxon. Requires taxonomic opinion to define the scope of a taxon. Rules of priority then are used to define the taxonomic status of the nomenclature contained in that scope, combined with the experts opinion. It must be linked to a specific taxonomic reference that defines the concept. Recommended best practice is to use a controlled vocabulary. Examples: "invalid", "misapplied", "homotypic synonym", "accepted".

relationshipofResource - The relationship of the resource identified by relatedResourceID to the subject (optionally identified by the resourceID). Recommended best practice is to use a controlled vocabulary. Examples: "duplicate of", "mother of", "endoparasite of", "host to", "sibling of", "valid synonym of", "located within".

There's also acceptedNameUsage and acceptedNameUsageID, which if used infer that the name the terms are associated with is a synonym of the AcceptedName.

But, so far there is no guideline for how to organize synonyms in a Darwin Core Archive.  They can be embedded in the core file using relationshiopofResource from a synonym name to an accepted name in the same file.  Or they can be in an extension file, where the extension file may be called Synonyms and thus define a one-to-many "synonym relationship" from the taxonID in the core file to synonym names in the extension file.  There are probably other ways.  RDF adds the ability to be more explicit about the relationships.

Rich Pyle has lectured prolifically on this so I'm sure he has good advice to offer.


From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Hilmar Lapp
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2:55 PM
To: TDWG Content Mailing List
Cc: Dan Leehr
Subject: [tdwg-content] synonyms in DwC Archives

I'm looking for recommendations on how best to put synonyms for taxon records into DwC Archive format.

I'm assuming that these would go into an extension file. Do I have this right? What I'm having more trouble with is determining the right column term. there's dwc:vernacularName, which is also in the examples, but what about synonyms of different types that come with taxonomies (such as NCBI's) or that result from merging taxonomies. There isn't an obvious candidate in DwC, and the list at http://rs.gbif.org/core/dwc_taxon.xml doesn't have a suggestion either that would seem pertinent.

Any suggestions, pointers to documentation or examples?


Hilmar Lapp -:- informatics.nescent.org/wiki<http://informatics.nescent.org/wiki> -:- lappland.io<http://lappland.io>

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