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2009-09-13 Machine Tag Taxonomy and Binomial Nomenclature

Machine Tag Taxonomy and Binomial Nomenclature

This is not a secret that I'm interested in botany and biology in general. When I'm shooting some pictures of the wild life, I'm always trying to classify properly the picture taken. Classification is very important when you are trying to protect the life around you. Especially when you are gardening, it happens that you have some bad surprise because a plant nursery used the same common name for two different plants. That's one of the reason why the use of binomial nomenclature is highly recommended.

I have gathered some notes on my use of machine tag for biology taxonomy. So you can express easily the classification on web services using tagging (like flickr or a machine tag that can be read by human and by machine (read information automated systems) :

taxonomy:binomial="Asperula arvensis"

But finding the proper binomial name and especially, the proper spelling is not always easy. So I made a hack around agrep to find the proper spelling of a binomial name using a part of the official catalogue of life provided by ITIS.

The full text dump (around 10MB) of the binomial name extracted from the catalogue of life is also available. Without having such research data available, it would have been very difficult to build such an exhaustive catalogue.That's not a coincidence if the cover page of the latest Nature is about Data in research. Data is a critical part of the future of research but it needs to be easily accessible with the proper free license (just like free software).


Species and Binomial Classification