The Arctos taxonomy module offers controlled taxonomy with maximum flexibility.  Taxonomic tables control the identification applied to records during data entry or subsequent updates.  This reduces the chance of misspellings and other errors.  A validation service flags taxa that may be invalid to avoid adding erroneous taxa to the table.  Users also document relationships between taxa to reflect the most accepted taxon while retaining historical legacy taxa.

At the same time, the taxonomic model is flexible.  Authorized users can create, edit and delete a taxon name.  New classifications can be cloned from a variety of web services accessed through GlobalNames.  Arctos users can also create a classification based on their scientific knowledge.  Here you can read more about Arctos taxonomy and see the table for Arctos taxonomic terms.

A Hierarchical Classification Editor enables users to update the taxonomic tables as a group to reflect changed names and relationships.  If a genus is moved to a new family, the Editor enables the user to update all the species in that genus to the new family rather than manually editing each one.  This assures consistency in classifications, which enables researchers to find all your specimens when searching at a higher taxonomic level.

Like other shared sources, Arctos taxonomy integrates data from catalog records to enhance each taxonomic record.  These additional data include the record geolocation, images, field notes, and related taxa.  View this example of a fully integrated taxon with images, distribution of Arctos records and one related taxon.


Collections choose one preferred taxonomic source.  Most collections use one of the Shared Local Sources that are managed locally through Arctos tools.  Because they are used by multiple collections, changes to the source must be coordinated among the users. Today, there are three local sources: Arctos Plants, Arctos (all other taxa) and WoRMS (via Arctos).  Taxonomy in the first two sources was derived from legacy taxonomic names used by the founding collections and has been modified over time as new collections add, edit, or delete classifications. This collaborative approach has allowed all participating collections to benefit from the expertise of others.

Taxa in the WoRMS (via Arctos) source are the entire database of the World Register of Marine Species ( plus taxa added by the collections using this as their preferred source.  It is automatically updated as WoRMS changes via the WoRMS API within 24 hours.

Arctos can add additional local sources, links to webservices or a unique taxa database developed by a participating institution.  If only one institution is using the source, it will be responsible for curating all the data, but changes will only impact their collection.  Arctos taxonomy is even adaptable to collections of artifacts, art, minerals and other non-Linnaean items.

updated 16 March 2019