400 Years of Botanical Collections – Implications for Present-Day Research

Conference: Bauhin 2022 Conference
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Date and Time: Sep 15, 2022
Description: The significance of taxonomic publications to understand biodiversity in the digital world


Bauhin’s pioneering Flora of Basel „Catalogus Plantarum circa Basileam sponte nascentium“ exactly 400 years ago is a precursor to the artificially identified beginning of taxonomic publishing with Linnaeus Systema plantarum … 1753. Indeed, botanical publishing existed far before Linnaeus’, however his contribution has not only been the Latin Binomen, but the highly structured way he published the taxonomic treatments for each species, and to cite previous works. In the digital age, this kind of structuring of the information and the existing implicit citation links allows building the biodiversity knowledge graph, opening up the entire corpus of taxonomic treatments imprisoned in publications by providing it in a format that can be found and reused, cited and linked to data referenced in the publications. This provides access to all the published data about a specimen in a natural history collection, to trace back the history of a taxonomic name or the traits used to describe and deliminit the species. The Swiss based Biodiversity Literature Repository and TreatmentBank provide access to over 750,000 taxonomic treatments, over 1M material citations and are the largest data set provider to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). This highly automated workflow has and continues to liberate data from over 70,000 publications, which are further converted to RDF and structured into Linked Open Data via the OpenBiodiv Biodiversity Knowledge Graph. At the same time new ways to structure publications so that their resident data can immediately be reused upon publication are being developed in collaboration with Pensoft publishers, the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Paris and the CETAF publishing group. The Swiss NGO Plazi, Zenodo at CERN and SIBiLS at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics are involved in the EU Horizon 2020 project BiCIKL and the Swissuniversities funded project eBioDiv to develop ways to link data in publications to specimens, taxonomic names and genes and vice versa. This lecture will explain the concept and state of the art in taxonomic publishing, access and reuse of its data.

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