Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Word of the Day

Today's word is life science identifier, and thank you to Andrew Treloar for the term.

It is always a pleasure to hear Andrew Treloar speak, and particularly so since he was speaking a few weeks ago to research students in the Faculty of ICT at Swinburne, about ANDS. And particularly nice (parenthetically) that he was able to refer yet again to photographs of his chooks, which have been considerably upgraded since I last looked at them (the photographs, not necessarily the chooks),

The concept of a life science identifier (LSID) was new to me, and I like it. It is described in the Wikipedia article as a uniform resource name. I like to think that although the LSID is much wider in scope than schemes for identifying personal entities, we are also moving to a scheme for providing all people with identifiers according to a universal scheme.

Even now, everyone has some kind of ID, even dugongs, according to Andrew. As someone who is discriminated against because I lack the most common form of photo ID (a drivers' licence) I strongly in favour of standardising a national ID system on something that everyone is required to do - the tax file number system would be ideal. Pretty much all countries levies taxes, so universality could readily be achieved.

We were all also engaged by the progress of ANDS, the Australian National Data Service - "more Australian researchers reusing research data more often", a slogan which Andrew says is taken from Bicycle Victoria with the references to cycling removed. Like so many other enterprises in the modern world, ANDS will require some method of identifying researchers as well as their data, and we are right in the middle of that now.

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