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Well, the question is practically self-explanatory, but still, I will elaborate. The Borg queen says in Voyager, that she herself came from species 125, which means, she must not have been the first, or she would have called her species as species 1 (or even species 0) assuming of course, that the numbering is done based on the sequential encounters rather than, well, probably the "degree" of usefulness of the species (or even the degree of worthiness, if there is even such a thing). So, my question is, is my assumption of the Borg providing sequential numbering based on the sequence in which the species are encountered correct?

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    "Though not explicitly stated, species designations are mostly consistent with being incremental, i.e. each newly encountered species receives a number one higher than the previous one." - memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Borg_species_designations Dec 9, 2021 at 3:08
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    I don't think it's ever stated that the Queen started the Borg - or that she was from the first species.
    – komodosp
    Dec 9, 2021 at 9:00
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    @LogicDictates I'm not sure about that - Species 8472 first appear in the Voyager Season 3 finale and the Borg have apparently only just met them fairly recently. Then in the Season 5 episode Dark Frontier we meet Species 10026. That's 1554 species in a year and a half (or less since we don't know when Species 10026 were numbered) compared to about 5 times that number in the entire time the Borg had existed before then. Dec 9, 2021 at 9:58
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    @PrincessAda if we think of the Borg sphere of influence expanding outwards, we might well expect that as the circumference grows they will encounter new species at an exponentially growing rate. Dec 9, 2021 at 13:21
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    It's also likely that they number species that are known to species they assimilate, even if the collective hadn't encountered them directly. So assimilating a species that has explored widely could drastically increase the count in an instant. This also explains some discrepancies between the numbering, and order in which the borg encounter them.
    – JeffUK
    Dec 9, 2021 at 22:15

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Many computer databases use simple IDs which are typically string versions of numbers, which act as unique values to identify that entity. Most time they're assigned automatically when the system creates a new entry in a given table. It's possible the Borg have some database with a root table containing all the species most important data - things like their name, the stardate first encountered, the star system first encountered (a field referencing another table by the ID of the record for the star system in question). Then they'd have other database tables with other kinds of information that links back to IDs of these species, for various purposes - a table that stores DNA samples, a table that stores holographic representation and/or images/videos, tables that have technological data they've assimilated, etc.

So the Borg encounter some ship they've never seen. They scan it, board it, interface with it, possibly take a biological sample and/or a sample of the ship itself (EG in "Q, Who?"). Once they can't find any records for the samples in question, they create new species entries which are then given the ID based on the next available sequential value in that table, and the same for the samples they take. Usually there's some sort of processing queue or table locking in place to ensure that competing entries aren't given the same ID - this is done day-to-day in even our own computer systems.

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  • Assuming that their database is relational, it seems like a plausible explanation. However, that also reiterates the fact that the sequence would be in the order of encounter, for only when a new species is encountered, will the database need to generate a new Primary Key :) Dec 17, 2021 at 3:43

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