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In 2008, for the first time, we have introduced a unique identifier for every recognised taxon in the Catalogue of Life Annual Checklist. The type of identifier we have chosen, following the recommendation of the Biodiversity Information Standards organisation (TDWG), is the LSID (Life Science Identifier, lsid.sourceforge.net). The purpose of the CoL LSIDs is to uniquely identify the taxon concept implied by each accepted or higher taxon name.  This concept does not include the additional data about distribution, common names, etc. that are included in the Catalogue of Life. 

The LSID for a species or infra-specific taxon appears at the bottom of its Species or Infraspecies Details page.  You will also see a link "LSID" to the right of a taxon name in the classification paragraph and in the tree.  Clicking on one of these links will reveal the LSID. 

However, the primary purpose of LSIDs is to allow software services, rather than humans, to exchange information about taxa unambiguously.  CoL LSIDs can be obtained directly from the database "taxa" table.  A software client or interested user can "resolve" the LSID to obtain further information about the taxon concept to which it relates, expressed as TCS metadata in RDF format, by the use of the CoL LSID Resolution Service.  Several LSID services are available on the Web, including for example Rod Page's LSID Tester, which will pass LSIDs to the appropriate resolution service, in our case the CoL Resolution Service. 

We thank TDWG and CBOL for funding of LSIDs implementation.

Richard White, Ewen Orme & Andrew Jones, Cardiff University, U.K.

Last Updated ( Friday, 15 June 2012 )
 
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