The Global Names Index is a component of a semantic environment for biology called the Global Names Architecture (GNA). GNI has been developed by GBIF, EOL, and the NSF-funded Global Names projects. It has benefited from the ideas of an array of gifted and enthusiastic individuals who contributed through the Nomina workshops that they attended. Many initiatives world-wide have been compiling and validating scientific names. They sit at the core of the management of information in most biodiversity web-sites and web-accessible databases.GNI will help to foster the dynamic interactions among these initiatives. GNI itself is a fairly simple list of names, with reference to who holds the names, and links back to the sources of the names. It is an early module of GNA. New modules that appear will add nomenclatural authority and information to some of the names. Other services, such as the iPlant TNRS service can use reconciliation of alternative names to return preferred versions of names that are submitted. This is an open source development, the codebase is available under the MIT license, and the content is regarded as being in the public domain..