SDD Specifications Document

Kevin Thiele kevin.thiele at PI.CSIRO.AU
Tue Feb 29 09:25:31 CET 2000

At 10:13 25/02/00 -0300, Mauro wrote:

>I was about to suggest that a graphic model, perhaps using the UML
>methodology, was in order, but Jean-Marc Vanel has already taken care of
>that. His model is interesting, and deserves attention.

I agree that a graphical representation of the model may be a good idea, but
it's beyond me.

Jean-Marc's work does indeed need appraisal by the group in relation to our
goals. My understanding from a brief perusal of his site is that he's trying
to establish a franework for creating a set (one day he hopes for a global
set) of descriptions of plants on the web, the data structured in such a way
as to be queryable as well as readable.

So, has Jean-Marc already done all that this group set out to do and can we
go home?

Two likely differences between the present attempt and his may be

1. that we need to create something more flexible so that any botanist can
capture any aspect of systematic data for any taxon - i.e. a Stipa can be
described just as fully as a Taraxacum and a Nepenthes, with data ranging
from morphology to anatomy, phytochemisty and gene sequences (the latter is
the only easy one). Jean-Marc's thing seems to me to be of the fairly
inflexible variety (see the earlier lexicon debate) i.e. systematic
description is reduced to filling in the blank spaces on the form provided:

Taxon name <fill in your taxon>
Leaves <phyllotaxy>; margins <indentation>; venation <type>.

I may be misrepresenting Jean-Marc's intentions here. Any comment?

2. Jean-Marc's model is directed towards capturing descriptions. We need to
also allow for identification data for the range of key programs available
and in the future. Thus, things like character sets, dependencies, allowing
for misinterpretations etc may perhaps have little meaning in Jean-Marc's
domain, but are critical in ours.

Does anyone think we shold discontinue our attempt and run with Jean-Marc's

At the very least, we should make sure that they're compatible, perhaps
seeing Jean-Marc's as a special-purpose subset of the general.


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