Numeric taxonomic code of NODC

Tue Jul 5 12:18:20 CDT 1994

The NODC is moving further into the modern world.  In collaboration
with several other federal agencies, they are working on developing
a new system to manage (in the near term) a controled vocabulary of
taxonomic names and a single (preferred) classification.  Their new
system is based on a relational model, which -- I belive -- includes
includes a single taxonomic name entity, with appropriate subtypes,
and a recursive relationship (foreign key) on this TAXON_NAME entity
to record the classification.  The surrogate key for the TAXON_NAME
entity is an "information-less" integer.

The reasons for moving to this new model are not just the migration
to a new (modern) hardware-software platform, but also the
maintainence problems inherent in the old model -- where the classifica-
tion was imbedded in the "serial number" of an individual taxon name.
(Change the classification; change the serial number of the name.)

The folks in this group have also come to realize that they would
prefer taxonomists to maintain authoritative representation of this

For a slightly more modern view of taxonomic name information, see the
the Association of Systematics Collections "Report of the Biological
Collections Data Standards Workshop" 1992, available on the ftp/gopher
server at, and also (I think) on  .
That model explicitly recognizes taxonomic names as distinct from taxa,
and ultimately will provide an even greater storage/retrieval precision
in the management of biological data.

Stan Blum
mnhod025 at

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