American Museum of Natural History; Plazi
|Terence H. Catapano
Vice President, Plazi
Columbia University; Plazi
Plazi is a Swiss-based international non-profit organization focused on finding innovative ways to provide access to the very rich literature of biological diversity. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, Plazi is commited to developing new and open publishing of a rapidly increasing amount of new knowledge.
Plazi has three primary areas of activity:
- Questions of copyright, studying what actually constitutes a Work in this field, and thus falls under copyright legislation. The organization asserts that, under Swiss copyright law, taxonomic treatments, as quasi-legal documents and statements of fact, are not copyrightable.
- Development of tools to assist in the creation, enhancement, and sharing of information within the literature of biological systematics. All of Plazi’s development initiatives focus on opening up publications in order to expose the rich amounts of data inside for linking, retrieval, and analysis. To that end, Plazi has developed an XML schema (taxonX) for retrospective markup of taxonomic treatments, tools for semi-automatic markup (GoldenGate), storage and retrieval systems using existing or developing XML and RDF based transfer protocols, and new models for publishing born digital taxon descriptions through development of a module of the NLM/NCBI Journal Publishing DTD and investigation of use of complex digital object description standards (METS/OAI-ORE).
- For both experimentation and demonstration, Plazi develops and maintains an open digital repository of taxonomic descriptions currently containing over 5000 publications from the taxonomic literature of ants, with over 6000 individual descriptions encoded in TaxonX XML.