Topic 3: GUIDs for Taxon Names and Taxon Concepts

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Thu Nov 3 16:53:28 CET 2005

Hi Kevin,

> I am trying to understand how you imagine a name guid
> system will work.  When you say "what gets a name guid?",
> what data/database do you think will get the guid - a
> central name repository?  Are you thinking that all
> records in various databases around the world that are
> referring to the "same" name will have the same "Name Guid"?
> For resolvable GUIDs this will mean the name will always
> resolve to the central repository data.

I think that would be WONDERFUL -- and might even be feasible for zoological
names once ZooBank is up and running.  But that's tangential to my main
point -- which is that TDWG Standards should establish a clear definition
for what a "Name" is.  At the very basic level, we need to be able to
understand the difference between, say, a Specimen GUID vs. a Publication
GUID vs. a Taxon Name GUID.  Granted, the resolution service should take
care of this distinction (a GUID is, after all, a *G*UID), in which case we
would't really need to distinguish between these domains.  We really need
only one GUID system for all object domains (specimens, publications, names,
concepts, etc.).

But Donald's question of 29 October and the TDWG GUID Wiki, imply that there
are different issues to consider for different GUID domains (e.g.,
"GUIDsForCollectionsAndSpecimens" vs. "GUIDsForTaxonNamesAndTaxonConcepts").

So, *IF* we are partitioning GUID domains (rather than letting the
resolution service determine the difference between a specimen and, say, a
publication), and *IF* we are thinking about
"GUIDsForTaxonNamesAndTaxonConcepts", then I believe it is critical to come
up with clear definitions for what the scope of a "Name" is.  If TDWG does
not impose some standards of this sort, then cross-walking different
datasets will be every bit as much a nightmare as it currently is.  I would
see that as a most unfortunate outcome for the broader goal of global
biological data exchange.

Maybe I misunderstood your question?


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