Standards and Database Documentation
An overriding goal of the ITIS project is to provide accurate, scientifically
credible, and current taxonomic data that meet the needs of the ITIS
and the user public. To accomplish this goal we have established a set
of standards and guidelines. The initial version of ITIS includes National
Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) data, with modifications. As groups
are reviewed, quality indicators for credibility, completeness,
and currency will be associated with each record. See the Data
Development History and Quality Indicators page for more information. ITIS
is actively seeking contributors to help in this process and welcomes firstname.lastname@example.org
ITIS does not intend to serve as a forum for cutting-edge taxonomic classifications.
Rather, ITIS is meant to serve as a standard to enable the comparison
of biodiversity datasets, and therefore aims to incorporate classifications
that have gained broad acceptance in the taxonomic literature and by professionals
who work with the taxa concerned.
- Data conform with the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature
and the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.
- A five kingdom system has been adopted as a standard.
The kingdoms are Monera, Protista, Plantae, Fungi, and Animalia.
- Ranks in the animal kingdom below subspecies
will not be included in ITIS regardless of their occasional inclusion
in datasets, as these ranks are not allowed under the zoological code.
The botanical code allows the ranks variety, subvariety, forma,
- Protists, depending on the group considered, have
historically been treated according to either the zoological code (i.e.
protozoans) or the botanical code (i.e. algae) and in some cases according
to both. Also, the algae are often classified into multiple kingdoms.
ITIS will make practical decisions as to the placement
of these groups within the five kingdom framework.
ITIS Data Models
as of April 2003, the ITIS database schema and/or data element definitions
have been changed as follows:
- The length of data element, unaccept_reason (unacceptability_reason),
has been increased to 50. The unacceptability reasons defined in the
ITIS Submittal Guidelines are now fully implemented.
- The length of data element, origin, has been increased to 50. New
origin values, Native and Extirpated, and Native and Extinct, are now
included in the definition.
- The data element, uncertain_prnt_ind (uncertain_parent_indicator),
has been added to the taxonomic_units table. This element is defined
as char(3) and is optional. It improves the ability to identify taxa
whose positions in the hierarchy are uncertain.
ITIS Database - Physical Model for Internet Viewing.
This version of the physical model consists of a number of linked
files that allow faster viewing via the Internet. Note: This version
does not include the references restructuring information. The references
restructuring information is included in the complete physical model
for printing below starting on page 52, or as separate documents described
below. The date for complete implementation of the references restructuring
has not been set.
ITIS Database - Physical Model for Printing.
This version of the physical model consists of one file that, when
accessed, allows you to view or print out the entire model from one
single document. Because one file is used instead of a number of separate
files, this version of the model does take longer to access than the
version designed strictly for Internet viewing. The references restructuring
information was added to the file in August, 1999. The new information
begins on page 52. The date for complete implementation of the references
restructuring has not been set.
Online Database - References Data Model
This is a 1-page representation of the references portion of the ITIS
physical data model. When implemented, the tables identified will
replace the current Publications and Reference_Links tables.
ITIS Online Database - References Tables
This is a 12-page extract from the data dictionary describing the
database tables pertaining to the references implementation.
ITIS Database - References Data Elements
This is a 35-page extract from the data dictionary
describing the data elements pertaining to the references implementation.