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Life Sciences Identifiers. Ricardo Pereira TDWG Infrastructure Team (TIP). Data is Available. Many projects exchanging data over the Net. From Existing identifiers. Taxon names Catalog numbers Others Institution Code, Collection Codes. Problems to solve.

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Life Sciences Identifiers

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life sciences identifiers

Life Sciences Identifiers

Ricardo Pereira

TDWG Infrastructure Team (TIP)

data is available
Data is Available
  • Many projects exchanging data over the Net
existing identifiers


Existing identifiers
  • Taxon names
  • Catalog numbers
  • Others
    • Institution Code, Collection Codes
problems to solve
Problems to solve
  • Integrating data


Taxon Name



A computer can’t,

because it is all

loosely linked by

the taxon name.

With some effort

a scientist who comes

along can put all that

information together.


problems to solve5



Terms &


Problems to solve
  • Giving proper attribution

It’s difficult

to keep



with the data

Museum A

Museum B


problems to solve6
Problems to solve
  • Tracking provenance

A scientist can tell

where a record came

from by looking at

the collection code

It may be awkward

for a computer to

do it based just

on collection codes

  • Globally Unique Identifiers (GUID)
    • A scheme to identify and access data objects on the Web.
    • Identifiers are persistent
      • They are permanently associated with a data object.
    • Identifiers are globally unique
    • Identifiers are actionable or locatable
    • Provides mechanisms to describe objects: metadata

TDWG Architecture

Globally Unique Identifiers




existing guid systems
Existing GUID Systems
  • Life Science Identifiers (LSID)

  • Handle System


  • Digital Object Identifiers (DOI)


  • Persistent URLs (PURLs)

tdwg picked lsids
TDWG picked LSIDs
  • Existing standard for retrieving data and metadata
  • Decentralised
  • Easy to assign large numbers of LSIDs
  • Conceptually distinct from URLs
  • LSIDs are names not addresses like URLs
  • Integrates with TDWG architecture
    • Returns RDF
    • LSIDs gets you to the data (resolvable)
life science identifiers lsid
Life Science Identifiers (LSID)

A taxon name from ZooBank

A fungi specimen from Herb. IMI

The description of a genus from UBio

A segment of the human genome from GDB

lsid resolution protocol
LSID Resolution Protocol
  • Well defined way to get data and metadata from an LSID



lsids at work
LSIDs at work
  • Integrating data


Taxon Concept


LSIDs make

links unanbiguous.

A computer can

Integrate all the




lsids at work13
LSIDs at work
  • Giving proper attribution

Every record has an

LSID that can take

the user back to

attribution information

Museum A

Museum B


lsids at work14
LSIDs at Work
  • Tracking provenance



By inspecting the

metadata associated

with an LSID,

a computer can find

the original source

of a record that

has been aggregated

what gets an lsid




Taxon Concepts

Taxon Names

What gets an LSID
  • Data objects that-
    • You serve to your clients
    • You are an authority for
    • You have aggregated
      • Assign new LSIDs
      • Keep a link to the source
  • Examples:
    • Taxon Names
    • Taxon Concepts
    • Observations
    • Specimens
    • Images
what we have done
What we have done
  • Support: LSID Website, Proxy & Software
  • Spec: LSID Applicability Statement
    • Specifies how our community uses LSIDs
  • TIP Funded Projects
  • Deployed LSID Resolvers for Taxon Names
    • Also a few other data types covered
  • Development of LSID clients
what needs to be done
What needs to be done
  • Ratify TDWG LSID Applicability Statement
    • Specifies how our community uses LSIDs
  • Documentation:
    • LSID Setup Guide
  • Continue deployment of LSIDs
    • Increase coverage of other data types:
      • Specimens, Observations, Organizations, People
what can you do
What can you do?
  • Respond to the Request for Comments on the LSID Applicability Statement
    • Follow instructions at
  • Assign LSIDs to your data objects
    • Lets users refer unambiguously to them
    • Gives you credit for them
    • Lets you express attribution (for derived data)
    • Asserts legal status of data
  • Information: