Collaborative Research: ABI: Innovation: The Global Names Architecture an infrastructure for unifying taxonomic databases and services for managers o

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION OF WORK TO BE ACCOMPLISHED Progress to date has been in line with expectations. The MBL group is very pleased with the array of software products that have been made available, their level of use, and the acceptance of the team with other projects ranging from IDigBio to FilteredPush, and new opportunities that are being actively explored in recently funded projects such as OpenTree and ETC. The disbandment of the Center for Library and Informatics, as well as the serious illness of one of the GN team members has introduced a small delay in some areas but will not lead to any major change in our agenda. New opportunities are arising at ASU, inclusive of a major capital investment by the School of Life Sciences and Arizona State University in a new Arizonan Biocollections and Biodiversity Informatics Center located a short distance from the School of Life sciences. In addition a new course in Biodiversity Informatics has been accepted for delivery in the summer of 2013. The following activities will be carried out in the last phase of the currently funded project. 1. Continued investment in software, inclusive of improvements to TaxonFinder and NetiNeti, two Open Source software that are incorporated within our Names recognition and Discovery software; and improvements to our Interface for Taxonomic Editing. 2. Improve reconciliation services by adding vernacular names from existing sources to our reconciliation groups and by increasing our tally of homotypic synonyms through the development and application of homotypic synonym recognition software. 3. Before this project is complete, we intend to release broad spectrum names resolution services as demonstrated at (Chrome browser only); and development of taxonomic validation services for widely used software such as Excel and Word, so that names are verified at the point of document creation. 4. We will continue to strengthen collaborations with other NSF projects (OpenTree and FilteredPush), work with new initiatives (such as Phylotastic), and expect to submit new proposals to NSF. 5. Strengthen international collaborations: with the Biodiversity Committee of the Chinese academy of Sciences on the development of software for a names-based cyberinfrastructure(supplemental funding has been sought); with the pro-iBiosphere and EUBON projects in Europe, and with Catalogue of Life. 6. Representation of the project at national and international meeting (most proximate being the proiBiosphere meeting in Leiden and the Systematics EU meeting in Vienna both in February 2013). 7. Training - development and delivery of ASU level 300 course in biodiversity informatics, and associated student resources; pursue undergraduate participation in the global names project (initiated). 8. A new Nomina workshop bringing together creators and federators of lists of names, and European and US-based legal authorities and a senior representative of Creative Commons to overcome the uncertainty over names and classification sharing that delays progress with a names based cyberinfrastructure.


Purpose: This application takes advantages of an enthusiasm to collaborate that developed after the original 'Global Names' proposal was submitted. We will instigate an active collaboration between the NSF-funded Global Names team at MBL (Woods Hole, Mass.) and the Biodiversity Informatics (BiodInfo) Group at the Institute of Zoology (Beijing) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We will work on software components of a names-based cyberinfrastructure that will act as a virtual layer interlinking on-line information about biodiversity. We will build a common data model, build modular software in collaboration, develop agreed services to link modules, and co-ordinate our priorities. We will co-host content, code and provide services to make the infrastructure more reliable and sustainable. Our particular targets are the development of tools to assist with the integration of multiple taxonomies, and tools to allow the annotation and enrichment of information about taxa. Background: The almost universal use of scientific names in sources of information about biodiversity makes names very valuable as metadata. It mandates the development of a names-based component of the cyberinfrastructure for the re-use of data about organisms in an increasingly data-centric research environment (1). Numerous projects have emerged to address specific aspects of management of scientific names in the digital world. The Global Names Architecture was initiated by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF - 2) and the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL - 3). It is an international collaborative project that uniquely seeks to build an open names infrastructure that can act as a virtual layer to index and interconnect biodiversity data accessible from over 10,000 web-accessible sources. The Biodiversity Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (4) is emerging as the crossinstitution focus for digital biology and the informatics powerhouse for biodiversity data within China. It is home to (inter alia) EOL China, BHL China, the Chinese FishBase, Catalogue of Life China, and is hosting the current Taxonomic Databases Working Group meeting. Staff at the Institute of Zoology are funded to pursue Biodiversity Informatics. They have developed names and classification management software for the 4D4Life project based in Europe. Their work overlaps with our work in Global Names. The concept of a collaboration began when the Global Names and CAS teams attended an EU i4Life meeting in Paris in December 2011. We continued the dialog during a short visit by PI Patterson to China in February 2012, then at a meeting in Hawaii in March 2012, and later at the International Union of Biological Sciences in Suzhou in July. We are now committed to close collaboration on software development, a shared data model, common standards, content sharing, and interoperability of all software. We are also seeking support from CAS to make this feasible.
Effective start/end date2/1/136/30/14


  • NSF-BIO: Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI): $285,090.00


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