Use cases for name matching

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Simple use cases such as checking the names of a local list of insects against the names in the normative European EU-Nomen checklist (a.k.a. Pan European Species Infrastructure PESI) are already largely covered by existing tools. They are often used to detect orthographic or taxonomical errors, or to comply with legal requirements (e.g. EU-directives, national Red Lists, etc.).

On the other hand, a common use case in the elaboration of taxonomic treatments with comprehensive cover of the names in the taxonomic group is to identify existing names that have to be investigated for that purpose, i.e. to identify names held by the aggregator that are not already in the treatment. Currently, this use case ("Name harvesting") is not covered by a simple mechanism or service. Examples

Another common use case is that local data portals want to include links to aggregator databases when displaying a name (see e.g. the links to other sources in Tropicos). This allows to link to the name record in the target aggregator and thus (directly or indirectly), to the target's current or versioned taxonomic concept related to the specific name, and its opinion regarding the nomenclatural status. However, this is accomplished by using the name string as the search parameter, which may or may not work correctly (see potential caveats of scientific names).

In contrast, the incorporation of the target aggregator's resolvable name ID in the local database establishes an unequivocal link between the local name and the name in the aggregator treatment. This brings about an improvement in data quality for such links. Such unique and resolvable name identifiers play a central role, because they allow keeping track of name usage in the target aggregator. Aggregators should (and some do) provide name matching services that provide stable resolvable name IDs that users may incorporate into their databases.

Beyond that, users who did match their names and incorporate the aggregator's name ID should have the possibility to use a "taxon concept subscription" to be automatically informed of changes in the name usage of their names. This implies that target aggregators of taxonomic data trace changes in the concepts of the taxon where they place a respective name. Such changes may be changes in status (accepted name to synonym or vice-versa) but also the addition of new synonyms to the concept, or the removal of synonyms. We hope that TETTRIs can instigate the implementation of taxon concept subscriptions by target aggregators, for example by means of the 3PP project funding scheme. Nomenclators (databases that do not treat the taxonomic status of a name) would have to trace changes in nomenclatural notes or status of the name.

A specialised use case for taxonomists (and taxon name registrars) is checking if a specific name already exists, in order to avoid the creation of homonyms.

In the 2 years remaining for this task in the TETTRIs project, we will continue to test and document services provided by the aggregators and promote the usage of name IDs in local systems and publications, in order to contribute to a linked data landscape for biodiversity information