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Zoologists bank on database

Free OA online directory of animal names will bring clarity to biodiversity research

By Mark Chillingworth 10 Apr 2006

An open access register for animal taxonomy will offer a free online resource for checking animal names and registering new species.

The database, called ZooBank, will be the first ever single reference resource for zoologists conducting research or naming newly discovered
species when launched this quarter.

“We are trying to encourage scientists, authors and journal editors to deposit the original description of a species in ZooBank, as well as registering its taxonomic details,” said Andrew Polaszek, executive secretary of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the body behind ZooBank.

Thomson Scientific’s Zoological Record database of articles relating to named species is currently the primary resource for zoologists. “Zoological Record scans and indexes the published literature on animal names,” said Polaszek. “The problem is that the descriptions can be published anywhere in over 1,100 specialised journals, so original animal names are widely scattered.”

ZooBank will provide a single online interface. Polaszek expects a new interface to allow new names to be checked and registered to appear later this year. It will offer links from taxonomic records to full-text articles in Zoological Record and other sources ( Click here for more news).

“Biodiversity research is calling for a site like this,” said Nigel Robinson, head of operations at Zoological Record. “Climate change, pollution and the expansion of the human population are all issues increasing the amount of biodiversity research being carried out.”

ZooBank is currently being demonstrated to scientists.

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