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Taxon Names and Concepts Interest Group


Niels Klazenga

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Australia


The aim of the Taxon Names and Concepts (TNC) group is to promote the understanding of taxonomic names and their relation to described taxa (taxon concepts). Taxonomic names and concepts are the fundamental units for communicating biological information. This group promotes the effective use of taxonomic names and concepts in biodiversity information for describing specimens and observations.

An important part of this process requires that standards for this information must be defined in order to enable the effective sharing and exchange of biodiversity information. Broad implementation of a standard framework for taxon concept use will enhance taxonomic data quality and the quality of biological analyses that incorporate taxonomic data. This framework will also expand the usefulness and reliability of both legacy taxonomic data and that yet to be compiled or produced.

Becoming Involved

The TNC group is open to all interested parties. Watch this repository to stay abreast of the issues as they arise. Core membership is available to those who actively participate in our discussions and attend our meetings. Currently, the TNC is undertaking a major revision of the Taxonomic Concept Transfer Schema (TCS). We are also still seeking use cases and case studies to do with the exchange of taxonomic data.

History and Context

The Taxon Names and Concepts subgroup was formed at TDWG 2003 from the earlier Taxon Names group with the remit of proposing a data transfer standard for taxonomic names and concepts (taxa). The group has explored many of the issues surrounding the use and representation of names and concepts and has iteratively developed an exchange schema, the Taxonomic Concept Transfer Schema (TCS) which was ratified at TDWG 2005 and released as TCS 1.01. TCS has never enjoyed high utilisation, as rapid technological changes and changes in the domain made the format less suitable for data exchange. Therefore, at a workshop at TDWG 2018, it was decided that the TNC should undertake a major revision of TCS.


The aim of the Taxon Names and Concepts group (TNC) is to:

  • promote the understanding and use of taxonomic names and their relation to described taxa (taxon concepts), and
  • how these are related to other biodiversity information models such as those describing specimens and observations.

The primary scope of the TNC group includes Taxonomic Names as controlled by the codes of nomenclature, Taxon Concepts, Vernacular names and their relationships. However, in order to fully understand taxon names and concepts, the TNC group is interested in other TDWG standards in which taxon names and concepts are used or with which they are defined. In particular, taxonomic publications in which the names and concepts are described or cited; biological specimens which typify the taxon names, circumscribe the concepts or that may have been identified as belonging to a particular taxon; and character descriptions that are used in describing taxonomic concepts.

The group:

  • develops and promotes the use of standard data models for representing taxon names and taxon concepts (taxa),
  • monitors their use and where appropriate proposes changes to the standards,
  • produces reference implementations and tools and
  • documentation and publications promoting the appropriate use of taxonomic names and concepts.


TNC Home page:
TNC Wiki:

TCS Repository:, includes the current release of TCS and the TCS User Guide.

Google doc for up-to-date specification (working draft)

Diagram of up-to-date specification


Taxonomic Names and Concepts Interest Group







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