ITIS (an explanation of GBIF's data integration activities)

Meredith Lane mlane at GBIF.ORG
Thu Jun 24 15:41:47 CDT 2004

Roger wrote:

>I believe what we need ... is the equivelent of a central 'meta'
>directory of names. This directory would store all published names ... and opinions about those names. No data would be discarded. Interfaces (through SOAP or simple http calls)
>would be provided for other databases to reflect their opinions on the
>names, give an indication of what other data they carry on these names and
>provide a link to the data. Anyone at any time would be able to log in and
>provide a comment on a name or submit a new one. There would be no
>moderation only abuse control. The whole dataset would be served over the
>net and would be available as a download or snail-mailed CD-ROM on a monthly
>snapshot basis. There will be news feeds and watch lists so you can be
>notified of new entries in the categories you are working on.

Though they stated it in a different way, this is also what the
international working group that recommended and eventually set up GBIF
believed as well.  That is precisely why one of the four foci of GBIF is
the Electronic Catalogue of Names of Known Organisms (ECAT), and one of
the cornerstones of its information architecture (click here for a PDF
of the document)  is the Taxonomic Names Service that will utilize ECAT.

If all the names (remember, GBIF is concerned with all of biodiversity,
not just botany) were in digital format, it would be easy to "write the
system in a year," but they are not.  The technology is not the
time-consuming part of building a global information system, it's the

Meredith A. Lane, PhD
PR & Scientific Liaison
GBIF Secretariat
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
mlane at <>

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