identifiers for geologic samples

Sally Hinchcliffe S.Hinchcliffe at KEW.ORG
Mon Jan 30 08:54:49 CET 2006

Rod wrote:
> On 28 Jan 2006, at 01:02, Richard Pyle wrote:
> > The more I think about it, the more I think this is the sort of system
> > that
> > would work well for our field.  A centralized issuer (which could issue
> > blocks of thousands or millions of numbers at a time),
> The major problem I see with this is that a central registry may be a
> rate limiting step because it has to allocate blocks, it would also
> decide for format of the last part of the identifier (which the
> provider might not find desirable), and it may well lead to lots of
> wasted identifiers (e.g., it allocates 100,000 to me, but I use 3 off
> them).
> Would it not be better to devolve this? You can still have a central
> registry. For example, Handles and DOIs work by having a central
> registry for the prefix (e.g., "1018") and the provider is responsible
> for allocating the suffix locally.
I agree - and with provider allocation of ids, we allow providers
(and users) to continue to use existing or legacy ids without having
any extra step of lookups to find out what the 'real' id is.
*** Sally Hinchcliffe
*** Computer section, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
*** tel: +44 (0)20 8332 5708
*** S.Hinchcliffe at

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