[tdwg-guid] First step in implementing LSIDs?[Scanned]

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Sat Jun 2 12:14:40 CEST 2007

Yes Rich, our plan is to apply the LSID to the accession 'number' (actually an accession 'code' as we have an historical legacy of suffix 'a', 'b', etc for subdivisions of the original collection which in many cases is a collection of objects rather than one physical object - a bag of leaves for example). And yes, there are some possible problems with errors associated with the metadata but ... in the cotenxt of a DBMS where the accession number is set to unique values only, duplications are in reality impossible, and yes there are far more important challenges to address than this ... ;-)
I assume you are correct about the 001100010011001000110011001101000011010100110110 ... I'm a systematist leaning towards nomenclature rather than an IT person.
I guess the 'change of ownership' comment was directed at the importance of retaining the accession number as this is cited in the literature, and the utility of keeping this as a resolvable LSID.
A rather complex model is required for 'managing' the objects of a collecting event and what subsequently happens to those objects, which others have more experience of and valid opinions on - I refer, for example, to a pit trap for insects where multiple objects are assigned an initial accession number, the objects are subsequently divided and divided again and again and finally a few may end up on pins as name bearing types.


From: Richard Pyle [mailto:deepreef at bishopmuseum.org]
Sent: Sat 02/06/2007 10:08
To: 'Paul Kirk'; 'Jason Best'; tdwg-guid at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: RE: [tdwg-guid] First step in implementing LSIDs?[Scanned]

Paul and List,

First, I should clarify something about my earlier post.  I wrote at the
start of Scenario 3:

"3) Issue data-less LSIDs without using the revision ID feature, and track
data change history separately from the LSIDs"

That should have been "...and track *metadata* change history separately
from the LSIDs" (metadata, not data).

> So, without making things too complicated as we 'start to walk'
> in this domain of biodiversity informatics my vote is for a
> variation of scenario 3) from Rich. The reason I vote for this
> is that in the fullness of time, and the 'herb.IMI' database
> has already started this, much of the metadata with be
> LSIDs and it's correctness (i.e. sorting out typos etc) will
> be delegated to the entities who issue those LSIDs. As IPNI
> improves the quality of the metadata associated with the
> LSIDs they issue (and if I understand correctly they do use
> the scenario 3) from Rich) so the quality of the metadata
> associated with a 'herb.IMI' LSID improves. The reason I
> prefer the data + metadate 'model' is that in this instance
> the data is fixed ... who changes collection/accession
> numbers? ... so perfect for this role. Even if a collection
> moves to a new owner the original data need not 'disappear'
> in the same way that DOI's move with the objects as book and
> journal titles change from one publisher to another.

So...if I understand correctly, you differ from my scenario 3 in that you do
generate data-bearing LSIDs for specimens, but the data part is limited to
only the Accession number, not the complete set of data fields associated
with the record -- correct?  So, in effect, the object LSID actially applies
to is the binary accession number, not the "concept" of the specimen.  I can
imagine in this case that the LSID can be thought of as representing the
"concept of the specimen" because the accession number itself is a surrogate
for the physical specimen.  The only thing that concerns me about this
approach is that there is a non-zero incidence of accidental duplicate
catalog numbers within a given collection, and possibly errors in
associating catalog numbers.  For example, if the computer database for a
collection had an error created by a technician who, for example, entered
the metadata for accession number IMI1234569 by mistake, when it should have
been IMI1234596 (and vice versa), then branding the accession number as
"data" for the LSID means that the LSID technically *must* stay with the
accession number (not the specimen associated with the metadata for that
LSID), after the error is discovered.  Not a huge problem, but could
surprise people who had indexed the LSID before the error was discovered,
who then came back to resolve it again after the error was fixed (i.e., they
would get totally wrong information).  Given how rare this problem is likely
to be (against a backdrop of many far more likely problems we will have to
overcome), I don't see this as a strong reason not to proceed with your

> Final point, the 'data' is the 'herb.IMI' accession number;
> in context this is a GUI because of the existence of Index
> Herbariorum. So, our data will be 123456 not IMI123456
> because ... in the fullness of time we will include an
> Index Herbariorum LSID to 'identify' the 'institutional
> acronym' element of the metadata.

Is the binary data for the accession number in 8-bit, or 16-bit?  I'm
assuming 8-bit would be fine, as I suspect all collections would have
accession numbers that can be rendered with 256-character ASCII.  Is there
any "wrapper" to the number as binary data, or is it a straight ASCII binary
representation (e.g.: 001100010011001000110011001101000011010100110110 for

I'm not sure I follow the logic of how embedding the accession number as
data for the LSID allows the LSID to move to a new owner.  I would think the
opposite. Isn't it likely that the new owner would create their own
accession number for the specimen?  In this case, they would be forced to
generate a new LSID if they were following the same practice of encoding the
accession number as "data", rather than metadata.

Also, wouldn't it make more sense to include the acronym (IMI) as part of
the data for the LSID? At least that way the "12345" would have *some*

Finally, this approach would work only for collections where there is a
strict 1:1 correlation between accession numbers and specimen objects for
which an LSID is desired.

Thanks for your comments -- this thread is already forcing me to think about
things in a way I hadn't thought of them before.


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences
  and Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology
Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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