Geneva meeting

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CETAF ISTC Stable Identifier Initiative - Geneva Meeting

October 12, 2015, 9:00 - 17:00

Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève


Meeting rooms: La Console – 192 Rue de Lausanne, Geneva

Villa le Chêne (reception building) – in the centre of the Garden – access via the main entrance at Place Albert-Thomas (near the bus stop “Jardin botanique” and opposite the World Trade Organisation).

Getting here

Bus nos. 1 & 25 (via the main station), Bus no. 28 (from the airport) – stop “Jardin botanique.”

Participating CETAF member institutions

  • Berlin - BGBM
  • Paris
  • Edinburgh
  • KEW
  • Berlin - MfN
  • Vienna
  • Stockholm
  • Geneva
  • ...

Expected outcome

Agree on clear implementation steps to be taken by participating partners until the spring 2016 CETAF general meeting and ISTC meeting.

Potential implementation steps:

  • LOD catalogue functions.
  • Ensuring that biodiversity portals such as GBIF link appropriately to specimen-URIs provided by CETAF institutions.
  • Improving LOD capabilities by harmonizing RDF metadata and linking out to external information resources (e.g. persons, geographic features, scientific names).
  • ...

Draft agenda

  • Welcome / introduction /scope
  • State of the play: each member summarises the state of identifier implementations in their institution (<= 5' per presentation)
  • The Wallich Catalogue project: a potential target use case showing the potential of HTTP-URI identifiers for specimens (Roger Hyam).
  • A tool to propagate identifiers into remote datasets (Nicky Nicolson)
  • Discussion 1: can we identify and agree on targets / use cases which i) can be achieved within 6 months and ii) nicely demonstrate the potential of HTTP-URIs and LOD?
  • Discussion 2: What's needed to achieve agreed target(s)?
  • Discussion 3: Agree on roadmap and homework for each partner.
  • Summary



  • Dominik Röpert (Berlin - BGBM)
  • Anton Güntsch (Berlin - BGBM)
  • Falko Glöckner (Berlin - MfN)
  • Thomas Pfuhl (Berlin - MfN)
  • Roger Hyam (Edinburgh)
  • Ernst Vitek (Vienna)
  • Simon Chagnoux (Paris)
  • Thierry Bourgoin (Paris)
  • Markus Englund (Stockholm)
  • Cyril Boillat (Geneva)
  • Robert Braito (Geneva)
  • Apologies: Nichy Nicholson (Kew)


  • BGBM, MNHN, RBGE, and MfN gave an update on their existing implementations of HTTP-URI identifiers.
  • All implementations provide working fully functional redirection mechanisms for both human-readable and machine-readable representations of physical collection objects.
  • Each of the institutions publish the identifiers prominently on their respective collection data portals.
  • The BGBM demonstrated that (if properly mapped via the BioCASE provider software) the identifiers are correctly displayed on the GBIF portal. In addition the BGBM implemented a RDF-sitemap function which provides a central access point for data aggregators.
  • RBGE presented the "Wallich Catalogue Project" which builds an interactive website helping researchers understand the Wallich Catalogue* and interpret the herbarium specimens Nathaniel Wallich distributed on behalf of the British East India Company between 1829 and 1847 ( The system links to specimens held by distributed collection institutions via HTTP-URIs.
  • It was agreed that
    • The Wallich Catalogue provides an excellent use case for demonstrating the usefullness of HTTP-URIs and Linked Open Data.
    • The CETAF ISTC identifier initiative should align their activities to improve the LoD-capabilities of the Wallich Catalogue and results should be presented at the General Meeting in Budapest (May 2016).
    • A minimal set of agreed (RDF) elements implemented consistently accross CETAF organisations would greatly help to facilitate preview functions in portals for example. The ISTC should make the specification of such a minimal set a priority.
    • The implementation of RDF-sitemap functions is not a priority because existing DwC-Archives can be used by aggregator systems for retrieving complete lists of HTTP-URIs published by institutions.
    • Mechanisms for linking out to other domains and exploiting LoD capabilities of collection data should be further explored. Promissing candidate elements for linking out to external ressources could be for example persons, countries, place names, scientifc names, literature.
    • Stockholm and Geneva will move forward with the implementation of HTTP-URIs in their institutions.


  • To agree on a "CETAF Specimen Preview Profile" (CSPP).
  • To implement the CSPP across members of the ISTC identifier initiative.
  • To register members of the ISTC identifier initiative together with links to their implementations prominently on the CETAF website.
  • To demonstrate the usefulness of the CETAF identifier system using the Wallich Catalogue use case.

Draft CETAF Specimen Preview Profile (CSPP)

The participants started to brainstorm on the definition of a minimal "CETAF Specimen Preview Profile". An initial list included 26 elements/concepts which were then reduced to 12 "essential" elements to be included in the CSPP:

  • title (language agnostic), mandatory
  • kind of material (preserved specimen, fossil specimen, etc.; will need a controled vocabulary)
  • scientific name (current)
  • family
  • original scientific name
  • collector number
  • collector name
  • link to "nice" webscaled image
  • geo coordinates (lon/lat; WGS84)
  • iso country
  • collection date
  • source link (URI to institition/collection/owner)

With the exception of the title-element, all CSPP elements are optional.

The elements which were not included are: ipen code, type status, locality (description), (gathering) country name, ipr statement, related objects, nomenclatural code, type flag, description, literature reference, collection event id, field number, locality or area, modified date. They (and others) can however be provided as additional elements.

Roadmap until spring 2016

  • Trial implementation (both in the collections and in the Wallish catalogue)
    • Who: Roger, Simon, Falko, Dominik
    • When: by end of December 2015
  • Role out phase
    • Who: all participants of the ISTC identifier initiative
    • When: by end of March 2016
  • Registration page on the CETAF website
    • Who: Anton, Ana
    • When: by end of March 2016
  • Presentation during the CETAF GM in Budapest
    • Who: Anton
    • When: May 2016

Additional medium-term objectives

  • To assess the potential of linking out from linked open (collection) data to external ressources and to try out existing LoD visualisation and analyses tools (Dominik, Falko).
  • To implement monitoring components helping to ensure that redirection mechanisms etc. implemented by CETAF members work as expected.