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<h1>Taxonomic Search Engine - About</h1>
<h2>Federating taxonomic databases using web services</h2>
<?php include("top.inc.php"); ?>

<h2>Who made it?</h2>
<p><a href="http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html" target="_blank">Rod Page</a>, in a fit of avoiding other tasks.</p>

<h2>What is it?</h2>

<p>TSE is a test bed for a web service approach to federating taxonomic name databases. Put in English, it takes your query 
and talks to a number of different databases, asking each one whether they contain that name. Each database has it's on way
of returning information about a name, but the gory details are hidden from you.</p>

<h2>Why?</h2>

<p>The scientific name of an organism is a key means of looking up information on that organism (such as DNA sequences,
distribution, ecology, etc.). There is no single source of information on these names, instead sources are scattered over the Internert, 
in books, monographs, and scientific papers. Hence, anyone using a name may have a hard time checking whether the name is 
valid, whether it is spelt correctly, and whether two different names refer to the same organism or not. TSE aims to make it easier
to search multiple databases to get an answer.</p>

<h2>How does it work?</h2>

<p>TSE uses <a href="http://www.pcwebopedia.com/TERM/W/Web_services.html" target="_blank">web 
services</a> (rather loosely defined) to query a number of independent taxonomic name databases. It uses a wrapper-mediator 
architecture, where each there is a wrapper for each external database. This wrapper converts the query into terms understood by the database,
then translates the result into a standard format for the mediator. In fact, the term "mediator" is a bit grand at present, as all the
mediator does is glue together the results and display then.

<h2>Source code</h2>

<p>For the technically curious, the site is developed in PHP, and makes extensive use of XML and XSLT. Documentation for the 
underlying code is <a href="html" target="_blank">online</a></p>

<p>You can download the source code for the Taxonomic Search Engine, and 
the LSID authorities <a href="TSE-0.1.tgz">from here</a></p>

<h2>Related projects</h2>

<p>TNS  resembles the <a href="http://spice.sp2000europa.org/SPICE/" target="_blank">SPICE project</a>
 (part of <a href="http://www.sp2000.org/" target="_blank">Species2000</a>). It differs in using web services (rather than CORBA), and 
 the wrappers are all on the same server as the mediator. No software needs to be installed on the external database server.</p>

<p>Some of the ideas in TNS were developed for the <a href="http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.uk/~rpage/MyToL/www/" target="_blank">Glasgow Taxonomic Name 
Server</a></p>
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