Topic 3: GUIDs for Taxon Names and Taxon Concepts

Nico Franz franz at NCEAS.UCSB.EDU
Tue Nov 1 13:50:59 CET 2005

Hi all:

   I am a member of the SEEK Taxon group. Donald has given a useful overview
of the names vs. concepts issue. I want to add that the "performance" of
taxonomic names over time in terms of reliably and precisely identifying the
same set of organisms can be quantified using the concept approach. Geoffroy
and Berendsohn (2003) have pioneered this kind of analysis for the German
moss data. Now Alan Weakley (UNC herbarium) has a dataset with more than
44,000 concept relationships that can be analyzed this way. Several smaller
data sets on weevils, birds, plants, and possibly bats, fishes, and rodents
are being prepared at the moment for a synthesis manuscript.

   We hope that such a broad-scale empirical analysis of the reliability of
names through time will motivate more database providers to try out the
concept approach. At the same time we're working on a tutorial-type paper
that explains how to establish third-party concept relationships given two
preselected classifications.



Nico M. Franz, Ph.D.
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
MSB, Room # 3411, University of California
Santa Barbara, CA  93106-6150

Phone: (805) 893-5934; Fax: (805) 893-8062; E-mail: franz at

On Sun, 30 Oct 2005 09:31:54 +0100, Donald Hobern <dhobern at GBIF.ORG> wrote:

>[ Another topic for comments.  Please keep the Topic number in responses. ]
>Topic 3: GUIDs for Taxon Names and Taxon Concepts
> ....
>I would like therefore to ask the following questions of any of you who use
>scientific names in your databases (either taxonomic databases recording a
>list of taxa, or databases recording information about taxa, specimens,
>observations, etc.):
>1.      Is your data organised using taxon names or to taxon concepts?
>2.      Do you assign any reusable identifiers to taxon names or concepts
>(i.e. identifiers used in more than one database)?
>3.      If so, what is the process in assigning new identifiers for
>additional taxa and for accommodating taxonomic change?
>4.      Where are these identifiers used (other organizations, databases,
>data exchange, recording forms, etc.)?
>5.      Do you use identifiers from any external classification within your
>6.      Would there be any social or technical roadblocks to replacing these
>identifiers with a single identifier that was guaranteed to be unique?

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