[tdwg-tag] Specimen identifiers

Kevin Richards RichardsK at landcareresearch.co.nz
Thu Feb 23 20:41:05 CET 2012

I agree Rod, it would be ideal to have unique, shared identifiers for specimens, and as many other types of data as possible.
The problem here is the "shared" bit.  This is what most people hope for and hoped would come out of all the GUID and vocabulary work that has been done.  But you know how hard it is to get different projects, organisations, datasets to really share IDs.  Pretty much impossible, so I have moved on from this dream and hope to solve this more by linkages, linked data type approaches instead.

Another problem is what the identifier refers to.  As someone (I think Rich) said in a recent post, two different people may apply the same identifier to slightly different things - eg to the "name" of a person, or to the "person" itself.  This is another barrier to reuse of shared identifiers.
You may think that specimens should be very simple, it is just a specimen that you refer to, but there can be subtle differences, for example if someone has data about the accessioned physical specimen and another has an image of that specimen - they could both well say that they are discussing the same specimen so give these two "different" objects the same identifier.


-----Original Message-----
From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Roderic Page
Sent: Thursday, 23 February 2012 11:38 p.m.
Subject: [tdwg-tag] Specimen identifiers

I've recently written an number of posts on the implications of the lack of specimen-level identifiers, which makes it very hard to link different sources of data together, such as GBIF and Genbank http://iphylo.blogspot.com/2012/02/linking-gbif-and-genbank.html , and are also a factor in creating duplicate records in GBIF http://iphylo.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-many-specimens-does-gbif-really.html

I know this is something of a hobby horse of mine, but we can have all the wonderful ontologies and vocabularies we want, if we don't have globally unique, shared identifiers to glue this stuff together we are going to find ourselves making yet more silos...



Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graham Kerr Building University of Glasgow Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792
AIM: rodpage1962 at aim.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage
Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com
Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html

tdwg-tag mailing list
tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org

Please consider the environment before printing this email
Warning:  This electronic message together with any attachments is confidential. If you receive it in error: (i) you must not read, use, disclose, copy or retain it; (ii) please contact the sender immediately by reply email and then delete the emails.
The views expressed in this email may not be those of Landcare Research New Zealand Limited. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz

More information about the tdwg-tag mailing list