TDWG-SDD XML proposals of Kevin Thiele

Robert A. (Bob) Morris ram at CS.UMB.EDU
Mon Nov 6 16:53:36 CET 2000

Jim Croft writes:
 > Date:         Tue, 7 Nov 2000 08:16:11 +1100
 > Leszeck wrote:
 > >What is referred to as "species" value="alfari"/ is actually the specific
 > >epithet. The "species" value in this instance would actually be "Azteca
 > >alfari" You're probably familiar with this protocol of referring to the
 > >scientific name of an organism which implies citing the genus name & the
 > >specific epithet which together comprise the species names - as per the
 > >Linnean system of binomial nomenclature. Should I have the 'wrong end of the
 > >stick' of the discourse at this stage then please advise me.

Jim Croft replied
>  ...

 > Computers do not have any trouble with such a model and can build wonderful
 > and tidy tree-like hierarchies.

The truth is that we secretly conceptualize nodes in such trees as the
full path from the root of the tree. Hence to us the <speciesName> object
is the full taxonomy. However, it is quite easy in any of the
languages with which one might process XML to turn one form into the
other. We didn't intend to propose that markup as a standard. In each
biological community, the biologists will set a standard if they can't
live with one some other community has already made. And we computer
scientists get to clean up the mess. :-)

Whether or not this is a good example, it is widely understood that
you can't force a single standard on a group just because they seem to
have common interests. Biologists seem to be an ornery lot. If they
don't like something they go do it a new way. Which often actually
tends to advance matters!


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