Biodiversity Information Science and Standards : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Catalogue of Life Plus: innovating the CoL systems as a foundation for a clearinghouse for names and taxonomy
expand article infoOlaf Bánki, Markus Döring§, Ayco Holleman, Wouter Addink
‡ Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, Netherlands
§ GBIF, Copenhagen, Denmark
Open Access


In 2015, the global biodiversity information initiatives Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), Barcode of Life Data systems (BoLD), Catalogue of Life (CoL), Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) took the first step to work on the idea for building a single shared authoritative nomenclature and taxonomic foundation that could be used as a backbone to order and connect biodiversity data across various domains. At present, the Catalogue of Life is being used by BHL, BoLD, EOL, and GBIF, but each extend the CoL with additional data to meet the specific backbone services required.

The goal of the CoL+ project is to innovate the CoL systems by developing a new information technology infrastructure that includes both the current Catalogue of Life and a provisional Catalogue of Life (replacing the current GBIF backbone taxonomy), separates scientific names and taxonomic concepts with associated unique identifiers, and provides some (infrastructural) support for taxonomic and nomenclatural content authorities to finish their work. The project’s specific objectives are to

  1. establish a clearinghouse covering scientific names across all life; provide a single taxonomic view grounded in the consensus classification of the Catalogue of Life along with candidate taxonomic sources, show differences between sources, and provide an avenue for feedback to content authorities while allowing the broader community to contribute, and
  2. establish a partnership and governance, allowing a continuing commitment after the project’s end for a clearinghouse infrastructure and its associated components, including a roadmap for future developments of the infrastructure.

As result of the project we expect to have a shared information space for names and taxonomy between the Catalogue of Life, nomenclator content authorities (e.g. IPNI, ZooBank) and several global biodiversity information initiatives.


Catalogue of Life, nomenclature, taxonomy, species checklist

Presenting author

Wouter Addink

Presented at



As part of the GBIF global work programme, the Netherlands government, through the Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility, provided a grant of € 360K for a two year CoL+ project (2017-2019). The Catalogue of Life, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility complemented this with in-kind contributions for a total amount of € 728K.

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