[tdwg-content] Clarification about values for dwc:county

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Sun Apr 12 16:35:40 CEST 2015

The definition of dwc:county is: "The full, unabbreviated name of the 
next smaller administrative region than stateProvince (county, shire, 
department, etc.) in which the Location occurs."  What I'm wondering 
about is whether the "full" name includes the second part to the name as 
it's typically written in the U.S. and Canada.  "Missoula" is given as 
an example.  However, the full name of that county in Montana is 
actually "Missoula County".  If there were consistency in second parts 
of county names, one could just assume that one adds " County" after the 
value given for dwc:county.  However, there isn't consistency.  In 
Louisiana, it's "Washington Parish".  In Alaska, names usually end with 
"Borough" (e.g. "Denali Borough"), although sometimes they don't (e.g. 
"Dillingham Census Area").  Outside the U.S. and Canada, there may be no 
second part to the name, or it might be something completely different. 

I am having a problem with this when I try to display values of 
dwc:county on a web page.  Currently I have some rules that involve 
examining the country and the value of dwc:stateProvince to decide what 
to append after the first part of the name. But they don't work for 
Alaska and if I just said "Dillingham, Alaska" that would really be 
wrong if I meant the Dillingham Census Area and not the city of 
Dillingham.  It would be easier to display them if the second part of 
the name were included in the value. 

Is there a convention on this?  I was assuming that it would be to omit 
the second part of the name, but since the definition says "full, 
unabbreviated name", I'm not sure.


Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences

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