[Taxacom] Periodical and book list

Roger Hyam roger at hyam.net
Wed Jan 17 06:41:40 CST 2007

I am interested in conducting a social experiment.

It would be very useful when combining taxonomic data from multiple  
databases if there were  globally unique identifiers for major  
taxonomic publications (periodicals/serials and books). One could  
then supplement a reference citation like

Edinb.J. Bot. 47(2): 89-200 (1990)

with an LSID and/or a URL that will tell the user that

Edinb. J. Bot. is the Edinburgh Journal of Botany published by HMSO  
in Edinburgh. It may also give other alias' it is known by and a note  
might say that it is a continuation of Notes from the Royal Botanic  
Garden Edinburgh.

It would enable the user to merge the data with people who have used  
other abbreviations for the same publication title - possibly without  
human interaction.

Lookup services could be created that went from abbreviation to full  
journal title.

The trouble is that the major lists of publications (e.g. BPH, TL2  
etc) are either:

-  are not available electronically.
-  are available on a subscription basis.
-  are hopelessly out of date.
-  can not be added to instantly (if the one you want to use isn't  
-  are not freely distributable (i.e. you can't download the whole  
lot and use them as a lookup table in your database or re-distribute  
them as part of a product or archive them to keep you data safe)

I am thinking that this is an ideal test case to see if the  
'community' could build a freely distributable list that helps us  
all. The list would:

- only include 'top level' publications i.e. periodicals, books,  
multi volume works. It is assumed that it is relatively easy to  
unambiguously identify a location within such publications via  
volume, part, and page/plate numbers.
- contain a simple set of fields for each publication.
- would be entirely freely distributable. i.e. a complete copy could  
be downloaded under a LGPL or creative commons type license.
- contributors would be acknowledged in a contributors list, but  
nothing more.
- users could comment on entries and submit new entries in real time.
- would be a key into/integrate with current and future digitization  

I have three questions:

1) Has it already been done?

2) If this system were available now and populated with the majority  
of publications would you use it? Would it be useful?

3) Do you (or some one you know) have a database containing details  
of titles of periodicals or books that you could export data from as  
a contribution to seed the list? If so how many records would there  
be and what subject areas (within biodiversity studies) would they  

You can mail me off list if you don't want to commit to anything in  
front of everyone.

This is still a thought experiment at the moment. I'll mail a high  
level summary of replies I get back to the list.

All the best,

Roger Hyam

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