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A continuously updated All Genera Index: an achievable goal for Biodiversity Informatics?
Rees, T. (2011). A continuously updated All Genera Index: an achievable goal for Biodiversity Informatics?, in: TDWG 2011 Annual Conference.
In: (2011). TDWG 2011 Annual Conference. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG): [s.l.]. , more

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    GBIF, among others, has previously espoused the creation of an “All Genera Index” [1, 2] covering the whole of life, embedded in at least one hierarchical classification for management purposes, as a fundamental tool for contributing to the organization of real world biodiversity data attached to organism names. Many potential components of such an Index already exist, in the form of compilations managed by relevant specialists covering vascular plants and bryophytes, algae, fungi, prokaryotes, viruses, and subsets of many animal groups, both extant and fossil. The main outstanding (and non-trivial) tasks are (1), to collate the genus names found in existing compilations and in the wider literature into a coherent and taxonomically informative whole, maintaining the rich name and taxonomic relationships frequently to be found in such sources, while managing issues of divergent name representation and taxonomic opinion as may be encountered, and (2), to devise strategies for maintenance and enhancement of Index content, both for previously published names, and for new names and associated taxonomic information as they are continuously published. Subsidiary tasks revolve around where and how the infrastructure to host such an Index would be hosted, resolving real or apparent intellectual property (IP) issues surrounding the present holdings of some agencies and operations with relevant data, providing mechanisms for community engagement and interaction with the system as required, and clarifying the relations and linkages of an All Genera Index with other names collation/indexing initiatives including the Global Names Index, ZooBank, and the Global Names Usage Bank. This talk will examine a prototype for such an Index, the Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera (IRMNG) [3] constructed initially as a contribution to OBIS, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, looking at experiences encountered in the compilation of the data, with an attempt to assess how real the possibility would be to create a more permanent, robust, scalable and continuously updated All Genera Index as a community endeavour.

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