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Novel ideas and tools from pro-iBiosphere presented at the TDWG 2013 Conference
Iliyana Kuzmova

Lyubomir Penev, Gregor Hagedorn, Soraya Sierra

The latest Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) conference took place in Florence, Italy on October 28 – November 1, 2013. The pro-iBiosphere project was well represented in the conference with 8 participants. Consortium members contributed especially to the discussions about:

  • the future use of identifiers

  • re-establishing the Structured Descriptive Data standard in Semantic Web compatible RDF Format

  • future developments in DarwinCore

Presentations given by consortium members during the meeting are available here.

In order to make fundamental biodiversity data digital, open and re-usable, the pro-iBiosphere project has the vision of implementing an Open Knowledge Biodiversity System (OBKMS). The strong general current towards semantic technologies observed at the meeting, confirmed the need for this vision.

The conference is also to be remembered with the launch of the common automated registration model for higher plants, fungi and animals (one of the four pilots being conducted by the pro-iBiosphere project).  Currently registration of new taxa is being conducted "by hand" by the authors, journals or registries. Pensoft journals were first to develop and offer this new service, in a collaboration with the International Plant name Index (IPNI), ZooBank and Index Fungorum. Detailed information on the automated registration pilot is available here.

Preceding the TDWG conference, Pensoft and ZooBank organised a hackathon in Sofia (Bulgaria). The hackathon resulted in several, real-time tests of the pilot, based on the TaxPub XML schema.

After the hackathon, the teams of IPNI, Index Fungorum, ZooBank, Pensoft and Plazi came together at a brief workshop to discuss the potential of the Taxonomic Concept Schema (TCS) as a possible basic model that may be used in the future for registration of taxa in the three organismic domains.

The consortium strives towards having a more open pilot registration system available by the end of the pro-iBiosphere project. At present, IPNI is having discussions with other key partners such as the IAPT committee on registration on how to open up the automated registration model.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 312848