[Tdwg-guid] Zoobank LSID Service

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Fri Sep 22 14:18:18 CEST 2006

Dear Peter,

Here are some thoughts.

On 22 Sep 2006, at 11:42, <peter.hollas at thomson.com> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I am in the process of putting together the LSID service component of
> Zoobank.org, after a few initial hiccups and difficulties I have a  
> basic
> service up and running in the development environment.
> Now I have arrived at the contentious issue of what data/metadata to
> return and in which flavour.
> I have a few questions...
> 1. What format should I return the metadata response in? From
> discussions with Roger it seems appropriate to go with RDF/TCS for the
> metadata reponse. Would this be a good way to go, and does anyone have
> any static examples of such a response?

I think TCS is a bit limited as it currently stands. For example, I'd  
strongly encourage linking to publications via GUIDs where ever  
possible, including DOIs. Including bibliographic information simply as  
text seems retrograde to me. This is particularly an issue for ZooBank,  
because you potentially could serve LSIDs for all the zoological  
literature indexed in Zoological Record (as well as DOIs where ever  
they have been assigned).

> 2. If a Data service were implemented, should the response simply be  
> the
> LSID or the taxon name as we don't currently hold any holotype photos
> etc.

I'm not sure you have any "data" as such. I would treat names and/or  
concepts as metadata. If you wanted to include other items, such as  
publications or images, then I would include these by linking them in  
the metadata, using rdf:resource attributes. Let's say you have a tag  
"holotypeImage" (I'm not advocating you have such a tag), then

<holotypeImage rdf:resource="urn:lsid:zoobank.org:image:156545" />

would do the trick. For an image, I think you do have data (namely the  
stream of bytes corresponding to the image file, in other words, if the  
image is a TIFF file the data is that file). For example, we serve  
images from SID (http://sid.zoology.gla.ac.uk/) as data. To see an  
example of RDF metadata for an image, try  
http://lsidres.org/urn:lsid:sid.zoology.gla.ac.uk:id:2000. If you use  
LSID LaunchPad, you should be able to get the actual image from this  
LSID lsidres://urn:lsid:sid.zoology.gla.ac.uk:id:2000

I'm also guessing that Zoobank won't itself actually have many (any?)  
holotype images, as these will be stored by other sites, so most times  
you'll want to link to the database that actually curates the images.  
In the same way, presumably you'd link to an external provider's  
information on the holotype specimen, rather than duplicate that  

This may provoke a fire storm, but I think the data/metadata  
distinction is in most cases overblown.

> 2. Is there any standard scheme for LSID discovery? i.e. Would it be a
> good/bad idea to extend the LSID service to allow machine queries of
> LSIDs by taxon name rather than discovering them through the web
> interface?

I think it would be a bad idea to extend LSIDs as such, but absolutely  
vital to add a search interface. My vote is OpenSearch, which is  
simple, open, and supported. See  
for some links on this topic. You could have a simple service that  
returned a list of LSIDs that matched a query. The other advantage of  
OpenSearch is that you can display the search results using news feed  
readers, which means you kill two birds with one stone -- a human  
readable display and a computer readable format.



> Any comments and suggestions are very welcome!
> Regards, Peter.
> Peter Hollas MSc BSc(hons) (Peter.Hollas at thomson.com)
> Software Engineer / Systems Administrator
> Thomson Zoological
> Innovation Centre
> York Science Park
> Heslington
> York
> YO10 5DG
> Tel: 01904-435113
> Fax: 01904-435114
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Professor Roderic D. M. Page
Editor, Systematic Biology
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University of Glasgow
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United Kingdom

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