Topic 3: GUIDs for Taxon Names and Taxon Concepts

Patricia Mergen p_mergen at YAHOO.COM
Mon Dec 12 23:57:08 CET 2005

Dear colleagues

  I agree with Arthur and Rod on this issue. What we need is a technically GUID which meet our needs.

  The IP, terme of uses, access rights, copy rights, proper citations has to be dealt with elsewhere, probably locally or nationally with the help of legal specialists. All this information finds indeed best its place in the metadata or even simply as a link in form an accessible webpage at institutional level explaining to the end-users how they are supposed to behave when using the information.

  I agree that this information should not be included in the GUID and the Genbank Accession number is indeed a good example, where the scientific community has accepted this "GUID" although the string does not contain any "IP" information ...

  Best regards


Arthur Chapman <tdwg at ACHAPMAN.ORG> wrote:
  I agree with Rod here

If we try and build IP rights into a GUID we will get absolutely no where. GUIDs are meant to be machine to machine and aren't meant to be human readable or human intelligent. There are better ways to handle IP /Access constraints/ Conditions of Use, etc. through Metadata (at both the Dataset level and record level if necessary), but these shouldn't be handles through GUIDs.

The use of Creative Commons is not inconsistent with Dublin Core, it is not necessarily one or the other - Creative Commons can fit neatly inside Dublin Core.

About 10 years ago I wrote a paper on "Intellectual Property Rights in a Digital World" that covered some of these issues. Unfortunately, it was electronic and the Government Department that owned the web site later decided it was not important and deleted it in a revamp of the Web site! If anyone still has a copy, could they please send it to me, as I no longer have a copy myself. If I can get a copy, I will make it available as I believe it is still relevant.

Arthur Chapman

>>>From Roderic Page on 12 Dec 2005:

> A quick comment:
> >
> > 6. Would there be any social or technical roadblocks to replacing
> > these identifiers with a single identifier that was guaranteed to be
> > unique?
> >
> > Yes. We are the creators and maintainers of both nomenclatural and
> > taxonomic data. We would be unhappy about any resolution mechanism
> > that didn't acknowldge our IP in that process. For example, if the
> > LSID contained another organisation's namespace when we were the
> > originators/editors of that entity.
> Leaving aside the awful term "Intellectual Property" -- which should be
> >
> avoided like the plague (see
> ) -- this strikes me as an
> issue handled by metadata, not the GUID itself. For example, there are
> vocabularies such as Dublin Core (, or even
> better, Creative Commons ( which can handle
> >
> these issues. I'd strongly favour the later, as Creative Commons
> licenses are designed to be computer-readable, and hence can be handled
> >
> automatically. If a license has to be read by a human, we're shooting
> ourselves in the foot.
> I understand that people want credit for their hard work, but this
> shouldn't get in the way of a workable system. Imagine if everybody
> submitting a sequence to GenBank insisted on their organisation's
> namespace being in the GenBank accession number! It would be a utter
> mess. In the same way, with DOIs even the mighty Elsevier don't mind
> that the DOI has nothing that (explicitly) identifies them as the
> source.
> Please let us not let "Intellectual Property" get in the way of a
> sensible solution. To my mind "IP" is one of the biggest obstacles in
> the way of biodiversity informatics achieving its potential.
> Regards
> Rod
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------>
> ----------------------------------------
> Professor Roderic D. M. Page
> Editor, Systematic Biology
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QP
> United Kingdom
> Phone: +44 141 330 4778
> Fax: +44 141 330 2792
> email: at
> web:
> reprints:
> Subscribe to Systematic Biology through the Society of Systematic
> Biologists Website:
> Search for taxon names at
> Find out what we know about a species at

Yahoo! Shopping
 Find Great Deals on Holiday Gifts at Yahoo! Shopping
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

More information about the tdwg-tag mailing list