Papers and Posters
The VegBank taxonomic datamodel
Peet, Robert K. Dept of Biology CB#3280, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
VegBank is a public archive for vegetation data. Users discover and merge multiple vegetation records for reanalysis or novel synthesis. These records typically have been collected at multiple times and places by multiple investigators using differing taxonomic standards. A concept-based taxonomic model was designed and implemented to allow accurate storage of taxonomic information and to facilitate efficient integration of heterogeneous datasets and representation of them using alternative authoritative taxonomic treatments. The model has been implemented in VegBank for both plant and plant community taxa.
This model is similar to the IOPI model in its focus on concepts defined by a name as used in a reference. However, there are important differences. We track the changing status of concepts in the perspective of specific party (usually an organization that maintains an authoritative list, such as ITIS or Flora North America) which allows the user to apply the perspective of a preferred party as documented on a particular date. The assignment of a name to a concept by a party is kept separate from the definition of concepts. This creates greater stability in the contents of derivative and linked databases and allows efficient application of multiple name systems.
Our approach is potentially applicable to any taxonomic system where there is a many-to-many relationship between concepts and names, with different parties having different perspectives on mappings.