Data Management Skillbuilding Hub

Best Practice: Describe the overall organization of your dataset


Best Practices by Data Life Cycle

Describe the overall organization of your dataset

Data Life Cycle stage(s): Describe

Identification of any species represented in the data set should be as complete as possible.

  • Use a standard taxonomy whenever possible
  • Full taxonomic tree to most specific level available
  • Source of taxonomy should accompany taxonomic tree (if available)
  • References used for taxonomic identification should be provided, if appropriate (e.g. technical document, journal article, book, database, person, etc.)

Examples of standardized identification systems:

  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (
  • Species 2000 (
  • USDA Plants (
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility (

Description Rationale

Many ecological studies involve at least one species; identifying the species used in a study is critical for its evaluation. The most complete information possible should be provided since taxonomic names and classifications shift over time with new information.



Cite this best practice:

DataONE Best Practices Working Group, DataONE  (July 01, 2010) "Best Practice: Describe the overall organization of your dataset". Accessed through the Data Management Skillbuilding Hub at on Aug 22, 2019


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