Arctos and GenBank

This document provides a high-level overview of Arctos/GenBank interoperability.

Stable GUIDs

The basis of inbound communication from any resource (GenBank, publication citations, related specimens, etc.) is a stable target. Arctos provides stable resolvable specimen GUIDs, and maintains them using various tools and services (eg, redirects).


GenBank has a registration of Arctos “GUID Prefixes” and can use them in conjunction with catalog numbers to form links to Arctos via GenBank’s specimen_voucher field. These serve as a confirmation (or caution), and allow GenBank citations to be discovered even with an incomplete data stream.

Other IDs

Actionable OtherIDs include a base_url, which when appended to the value of the identifier can form a link to related resources. One such actionable OtherID type is GenBank. Adding GenBank identifiers to specimen records automatically creates a link to GenBank.


Arctos provides a nightly snapshot of specimens with GenBank numbers to the GenBank LinkOut system. This forms reciprocal links to Arctos, even without a resolvable specimen_voucher, and serves as a verification data check.

GenBank MIA tool

Arctos provides a reporting service which monitors GenBank for un-linked specimens.