Names are key to the big new biology.
Animals, classification, Databases as Topic, Humans, informatics, Internet, Terminology as Topic
Those who seek answers to big, broad questions about biology, especially questions emphasizing the organism (taxonomy, evolution and ecology), will soon benefit from an emerging names-based infrastructure. It will draw on the almost universal association of organism names with biological information to index and interconnect information distributed across the Internet. The result will be a virtual data commons, expanding as further data are shared, allowing biology to become more of a 'big science'. Informatics devices will exploit this 'big new biology', revitalizing comparative biology with a broad perspective to reveal previously inaccessible trends and discontinuities, so helping us to reveal unfamiliar biological truths. Here, we review the first components of this freely available, participatory and semantic Global Names Architecture.