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Publication

On a BiCIKL to Wikidata: Harmonizing the chaotic universe of natural history collectors

Journal Contribution - Journal Abstract Conference Contribution

People play a key role in science and have been getting increased recognition for this work, initially by the efforts of libraries to harmonize attribution of authors of creative works, such as in the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF). Now, in the realm of scientific publishing, the international ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) organization allows scientists to mint globally unique and self-maintained identifiers for themselves, which tie all of their scientific output together. This has been fairly successful for formal publications, but less so for other scientific contributions, such as samples or specimens collected from organisms to serve as vouchers or references for long-term study. Such specimens may end up in natural history collections, where their metadata and, in particular, their taxonomic identity is refined over the years by experts. As the cost of digitization has decreased and the methods become more refined, digital versions of these specimens are now being published online in vast numbers, making attribution with identifiers such as ORCID easier.However, many of these specimens are only linked to the people who worked on them by name strings, often using a variety of syntaxes, transliterations and abbreviations. Recently, some collections have made an effort to disambiguate these names by enriching them with an explicit link to a persistent identifier, such as an ORCID (Groom et al. 2022, Little et al. 2022, von Mering et al. 2022, Meeus et al. 2023). In the European Union-funded BiCIKL (Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge) project, one of the goals is to develop better workflows that aid and streamline this enrichment process. This approach focuses primarily on Wikidata, as a fall-back resource for cases where ORCID identifiers are not available. Wikidata is suitable for people who are unable to register for an ORCID identifier, but also acts as a broker to harmonize between other authority sources such as the fore-mentioned VIAF.In this presentation, we will show the results achieved so far in this BiCIKL effort. First, we will provide a landscape analysis of different person identifier enrichment efforts so far in the natural history sector. Infrastructures such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the related Bionomia and the Botany Pilot (Güntsch et al. 2021) will play a key role. Building on those results, we will identify improved methods to link name strings to unique biographical records in resources such as Wikidata and ORCID. The focus will primarily be on properties of these records that make them more identifiable as collectors of specimens, and that can systematically be harnessed to rank multiple possible candidates or reject false positives. Finally, these findings will be incorporated into workflows that streamline the disambiguation and enrichment process. These workflows will build on existing pipelines and platforms, such as Bionomia and the Botany Pilot, focusing in particular on data roundtripping from these resources into other infrastructures, such as local collection management systems, but also specimen data aggregators such as GBIF and the Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo).
Journal: Biodiversity Information Science and Standards
Volume: 7
Pages: e110440
Publication year:2023