One of the major aims of the i4Life project is to establish a set of workflows for data sharing and synergistic cooperation among major biodiversity programmes around the world. This would be a major achievement in biodiversity informatics as it could ensure higher quality of taxonomy data in all the databases of the i4Life partners. And not only that – the established and operational workflows have a potential to substantially improve outcomes of many smaller biodiversity projects and programmes relying on the data from the large global biodiversity programmes participating in the i4Life project.
It is on this basis that one of the workflows being developed in i4Life is from the global partner species checklists into the Catalogue of Life.
This will have two benefits:
- Taxonomic elements in the global partners’ checklist not presently in the CoL will be added and placed within the CoL. This makes the CoL a more useful resource for the global partner.
- Taxonomic elements in global partners’ checklist entering the CoL through this process will also become available to the other partners using the CoL – thus raising the level of what is available to all.
The reason why a special ‘Piping’ workflow is needed is that contributions cannot be accepted centrally for insertion into the CoL. The strength of the CoL is that expert contributions are harvested from the GSD array – now about 100 databases – whose custodians are experts and themselves maintain the taxonomy of a given taxonomic sector. So instead of accepting contributions centrally, the incoming contributions have to be partitioned (according to which GSD is responsible) and ‘piped’ out to the 100 or so databases for them to incorporate. Of critical importance is that the GSD expert custodians can process all or some of them, placing them in a way that is taxonomically consistent with that of their own taxonomic view.
The CoL Piping Tool will thus provide the workflow that accepts names and taxa centrally, and then ‘pipes’ out for processing by the array of GSD databases (see diagram below).