For over 250 years, scientific names have been used to refer to organisms. Our literature, museums, herbaria, and databases rely heavily on names such that an infrastructure that manages (the strings that serve as) names can discover, index, organize and interconnect on-line information about organisms and serve the needs of biologists. That is the vision for the Global Names Architecture (GNA).

A mirror of the GN names services has been established at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing. You can access sample links for the Classification and List Repository, and for the Resolver service.

The Scientific Names Attribution, Rights and Licensing workshop, report now published.

The new International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (the Melbourne Code) is on line here here. It recommends three repositories for fungal names as required under article 42.1 starting 1 January 2013: These are: Mycobank, Index Fungorum, and here. Fungal Names. More information is available at IMA Fungus 3: 44-45. (2012).

The Taxonomic Tree Tool (TTT) is a web-based platform to accelerate the work of taxonomists. It was developed by the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It allows users to create and edit taxonomies. The system will compare trees to identify areas of disagreement, and evaluates the conceptual similarity of branches from different trees. The system introduces and applies the Bisby Core standard.

It is at Taxonomic Tree Tool v1.


The Canadian Register of Marine Species (CARMS) now offers resolution webservices that can, for example, return the AphiaID for a taxon, check the spelling of taxa, get the author or full classification for a taxon, resolve unaccepted names to accepted ones, get all synonyms, get or resolve common names, or get the children of a taxon.

It is at CaRMS.


Ryan Schenk's award winning Synynymy visualization. It graphs the changing frequency of different synonyms for species across the years; it calls on names information from the Encyclopedia of Life and the literature in the Biodiversity Heritage Library. This example shows the changing use of Bison bison and Bos bison. It is at Google's NGRAM viewer gives results on names without knowledge of synonyms. This tool can work on any taxon known to EOL by visiting the EOL taxon page, picking up the taxon ID and putting it into this URL - (this example is for Gymnodinium).


Rod Page's iTaxon service. This is a persuasive demonstration of the capacity of informatics to provide a service to taxonomists: Give me a name, I'll give you the descriptions from the literature. Nearly 250,000 names are linked to some form of digital identifier, and many of those are connected through the identifier to an accessible pdf. An operation of this scale is made possible through the use of names and DOIs as common denominators to link distributed data.

It is at


Pete DeVries' exploration of the semantic web dimensions of biodiversity, showing how he calls on the world of linked open data to build up knowledge about our biodiversity. His aim is to create linked open data (LOD) identifiers for species concepts, link those concepts to names within the Global Names Architecture, and to investigate how LOD methods may be used to match specimens and related data to the concepts.

It is at


The EOL NameLink service developed by Patrick Leary scrutinizes pages for any reference to a name, and then pops in a hyperlink so that the name can now point to the appropriate entry in EOL. Such a system can be customised to point to other websites. It is a simple idea, elegantly executed, and with much potential.

It is at The first element of the GlobalNames version of this service is available from here.


The iPlant Taxonomic Name Resolution Service (TNRS) is a service that receives taxonomic names, and reports back the best name according to an authoritative source, in this case TROPICOS. The ability to 'reconcile' alternative names for the same species and return a preferred name can 'normalize' taxonomy in biodiversity databases that currently use different names. This is an essential pre-requisite for bringing together distributed biodiversity data.

It is at

The Global Names Architecture is supported by the US National Science Foundation grant DBI-1062387 (The Global Names Architecture, an infrastructure for unifying taxonomic databases and services for managers of biological information).