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Award Abstract #1062324

Collaborative Research: ABI: Innovation: The "Global Names Architecture," an infrastructure for unifying taxonomic databases and services for managers of biological information.

Div Of Biological Infrastructure
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Initial Amendment Date: June 9, 2011
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Latest Amendment Date: April 24, 2012
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Award Number: 1062324
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Award Instrument: Continuing grant
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Program Manager: Peter H. McCartney
DBI Div Of Biological Infrastructure
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: June 15, 2011
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End Date: May 31, 2014 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $295,000.00
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Investigator(s): Chris Freeland chris.freeland@wustl.edu (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Missouri Botanical Garden
2345 Tower Grove Ave
Saint Louis, MO 63110-3420 (314)577-5100
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Program Reference Code(s): 1165
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Program Element Code(s): 1165


The Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), Bishop Museum (Honolulu), California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco), and Missouri Botanical Gardens (St Louis) have received an ABI innovation award to establish the Global Names Architecture (GNA), a modular suite of databases, applications, and semantic web services that will help integrate information across the Life Sciences. The project will extend existing proof of concept components, explore alternative solutions for technical challenges, and integrate the components into a pilot GNA. The GNA capitalizes on Linnaeus' system of Latin scientific names for organisms, a system that has endured as one of the oldest and most universal standards in science. Virtually all information in biology is given context by evolution and the hierarchical pattern of shared similarities it has produced. Scientists name species and change them with growing knowledge about their evolution and relationships. These changes create a tangled network of synonyms that, along with homonyms and variant spellings, make it difficult to manage information effectively The GNA will create a system that enables us to translate names correctly across the literature and on-line datasets. While the GNA has implications for the long-term management of information in the life sciences, the initial beneficiaries will be the more than 10,000 taxonomists worldwide, on whose expertise our understanding of the world's biodiversity rests. A scientific name 'usage bank' coupled with the Biodiversity Heritage Library's CiteBank will generate shared indexes and access keys to the taxonomic literature, the source of most of our knowledge about nearly 2 million species. New nomenclatural registries founded by the co-operation of the Index Fungorum and the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature's ZooBank will broadcast new discoveries as they are registered. Other tools will help taxonomists collaborate to build authoritative catalogs of the Earth?s biodiversity, then merge and integrate them, a process that GNA will transform into a semantic cyberinfrastructure that will organize the growing, internet-accessible, knowledge of Earth's biosphere. Ultimately, other NSF grantees in the life sciences should be able to augment their Data Management Plans by exposing their web sites to services that will create taxonomic indices. More information about this project can be obtained from http://globalnames.org or dpatterson@mbl.edu.


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Miller, J., Dikow, T., Agosti, D., Sautter, G., Catapano, T., et al.. "From taxonomic literature to cybertaxonomic content.," BMC Biology, v.10, 2012, p. 87. 


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