Proceedings of TDWG : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Design and use of NOMEN, an ontology defining the rules of biological nomenclature
expand article infoMatthew J. Yoder, Dmitry A. Dmitriev, José Luis Pereira§, Maria Marta Cigliano|
‡ University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, United States of America
§ División Entomología, Museo de La Plata, UNLP, La Plata, Argentina
| División Entomología, Museo de La Plata, UNLP, CEPAVE - CONICET, La Plata, Argentina
Open Access


The most complex nomenclatural databases are developed not from community based efforts but from individuals who have encoded their understanding of the rules of nomenclature into bespoke knowledge-bases. In efforts spanning decades well over 75 types of “status” may to be defined for a single database. Reconciliation of these status types into new, federated systems is nearly always the most difficult aspect of their migration. Nomenclatural data is often recorded in a logically inconsistent manner, for example mixing governed rules and curator annotations. NOMEN ( is an Web Ontology Language (OWL) ontology that seeks to address these issues, providing standardized URIs for classes of nomenclatural annotations on taxonomic names (not taxonomic concepts). It includes assertions for the animal (ICZN), plant (ICN), and bacterial (ICNB) codes. NOMEN based assertions can be encoded in a simple graph format, as illustrated in its implementation in TaxonWorks ( We illustrate its application within the migration process of four very large taxonomic databases.


ontology, biological nomenclature, OWL, application, ICZN, ICN

Presenting author

Matthew J. Yoder

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