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How Aphia - the platform behind several online and taxonomically oriented databases - can serve both the taxonomic community and the field of biodiversity informatics
Vandepitte, L.; Vanhoorne, B.; Decock, W.; Dekeyzer, S.; Trias Verbeeck, A.; Bovit, L.; Hernandez, F.; Mees, J. (2015). How Aphia - the platform behind several online and taxonomically oriented databases - can serve both the taxonomic community and the field of biodiversity informatics. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 3(4): 1448-1473. hdl.handle.net/10.3390/jmse3041448
In: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. MDPI: Basel. ISSN 2077-1312
Peer reviewed article  
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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Aphia; taxonomy; biodiversity informatics; online database; online editing environment; data rescue; World Register of Marine Species; web services

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Abstract
    The Aphia platform is an infrastructure designed to capture taxonomic and related data and information, and includes an online editing environment. The latter allows easy access to experts so they can update the content of the database in a timely fashion. Aphia is the core platform that underpins the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) and its more than 80 related global, regional and thematic species databases, but it also allows the storage of non-marine data. The content of Aphia can be consulted online, either by individual users or via machine-to-machine interactions. Aphia uses unique and stable identifiers for each available name in the database through the use of Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs). The system not only allows the storage of accepted and unaccepted names, but it also documents the relationships between names. This makes it a very powerful tool for taxonomic quality control, and also allows the linking of different pieces of information through scientific names, both within the Aphia platform and in relation to externally hosted databases. Through these LSIDs, Aphia has become an important player in the field of (marine) biodiversity informatics, allowing interactions between its own taxonomic data and e.g., biogeographic databases. Some applications in the field of biodiversity informatics encompass the coupling of species traits and taxonomy, as well as the creation of diverse, expert validated data products that can be used by policy makers, for example. Aphia also supplies (part of) its content to other data integrators and the infrastructure can be used to host orphan databases in danger of being lost.

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