Biological Nomenclature and Taxonomy Data Standard (and ITIS)

Peter Rauch anamaria at GRINNELL.BERKELEY.EDU
Fri Sep 4 00:15:23 CDT 1998

At the beginning of this current thread about ITIS, someone posted a
suggestion that readers obtain and review the document found at:

 Development of a Biological Nomenclature and Taxonomy Data Standard

Subsequently, there has been consternation and concern and interest
expressed from both "sides" of the issue of standardizing "something".
Again, I would urge everyone to go to the ITIS www site (see below), and
to read the full text of the document cited above, as preparation for
further discussion.

Some excerpts from that document follow. In particular, note that this
is a description of a project to develop a _draft_ standard, and
that it is only now being formalized and prepared for eventual public
comment (see the section below between the rows of asterisks). Go to the
_full_ document for complete details.

Project Title:
Development of a Biological Nomenclature and Taxonomy Data Standard

Date of Proposal: June 3, 1998

Submitting Organization: FGDC Biological Data Working Group

Point of Contact:
    ...cut, cut...

Objectives: The objectives are to provide a standardized,
comprehensive, and consistent reference of scientific names
(nomenclature) and associated classification (taxonomy) for biological
species. This comprehensive standard will thus support the
coordination, discovery, comparison, exchange, organization and
integration of biological data among different government and
non-government agencies, organizations, and individuals.
   ...cut, cut...

Scope: This standard will focus on providing a standardized and
consistent reference for scientific names (including scientific
synonyms and common names) and taxonomy for plant, animal, fungal,
moneran and protist species. The standard should be used to support
the discovery, comparison, exchange, organization and integration of
any biological data (or related information product) that includes
scientific names of species (or higher taxonomic groups) as part of
its data structure.

   ...cut, cut...

Development Approach:
   ...cut, cut...
[various agencies and organizations] are participating in the
development and operation of the Integrated Taxonomic Information
System (ITIS), a WWW-accessible database of scientific names and
taxonomy for biota (
   ...cut, cut...

The FGDC Biological Data Working Group will work with an interagency
project team representing the ITIS Federal partner agencies to develop
a draft FGDC data standard, based on the consideration of the existing
ITIS system as the possible "foundation" for this standard. The draft
standard then will be submitted by the Biological Data Working Group
to the FGDC Standards Working Group for review and approval prior to
being distributed for full public review.

Development and Completion Schedule: The Biological Data Working Group
will ask the ITIS Federal agency partners to form an ad hoc standards
project team to begin development of the draft data standard as soon
as the initial public review of the standards proposal is completed.
It is expected that development of a draft data standard will take the
standards project team approximately 3 full months, with another 2
months for the FGDC Biological Data Working Group to review and revise
the work of the standards project team as needed. The Biological Data
Working Group will then submit the draft standard to the Standards
Working Group for review and approval before release of the standard
for the requisite 90-day public review period. Following public
review, the standards project team will evaluate and summarize all
comments received, make the necessary revisions to the standard, and
prepare the final draft for submission to the Standards Working Group,
via the Biological Data Working Group. It is expected that the
standard could be completed and approved by the FGDC Steering
Committee within approximately 10-12 months from the time the
Standards Working Group approves this standards proposal.

Resources Required:
   ...cut, cut...

Potential Participants:
 ...cut, cut... This diverse group of existing participants
will be enhanced during the standards development process by an
aggressive "outreach" campaign to enlist the participation and input
of other agencies, organizations, and individuals with expertise,
responsibilities, and/or interests in the area of biological
nomenclature and taxonomy and biological data exchange.

Related Standards:
   ...cut, cut...

Other Targeted Authorization Bodies:
   ...cut, cut...

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