Surfacing the deep data of taxonomy

Page, R. (2016) Surfacing the deep data of taxonomy. ZooKeys, 550, pp. 247-260. (doi:10.3897/zookeys.550.9293) (PMID:26877663) (PMCID:PMC4741225)

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Abstract

Taxonomic databases are perpetuating approaches to citing literature that may have been appropriate before the Internet, often being little more than digitised 5 × 3 index cards. Typically the original taxonomic literature is either not cited, or is represented in the form of a (typically abbreviated) text string. Hence much of the “deep data” of taxonomy, such as the original descriptions, revisions, and nomenclatural actions are largely hidden from all but the most resourceful users. At the same time there are burgeoning efforts to digitise the scientific literature, and much of this newly available content has been assigned globally unique identifiers such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), which are also the identifier of choice for most modern publications. This represents an opportunity for taxonomic databases to engage with digitisation efforts. Mapping the taxonomic literature on to globally unique identifiers can be time consuming, but need be done only once. Furthermore, if we reuse existing identifiers, rather than mint our own, we can start to build the links between the diverse data that are needed to support the kinds of inference which biodiversity informatics aspires to support. Until this practice becomes widespread, the taxonomic literature will remain balkanized, and much of the knowledge that it contains will linger in obscurity.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Page, Professor Roderic
Authors: Page, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:ZooKeys
Publisher:Pensoft Publishers
ISSN:1313-2989
ISSN (Online):1313-2970
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Roderic D.M. Page
First Published:First published in ZooKeys 550:247-260
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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