It's How the Data will be Used that Counts

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Wed Dec 5 08:46:09 CET 2001

Una rote:
> These <freeform comments> are natural-language paragraphs embedded
> in otherwise fully parsable data, which is the opposite of Kevin's
> case above.  And much easier to handle, I think.

That is an intersting perspecitve, and probably right...  but although
coming from different directions, is there a real difference in the
final result?  Both end up as mixed content of structured (and parsable
character data interspersed with free form text...

> I put interesting data in the comments for an extremely important
> reason:  I know I don't have enough data to represent the probable
> diversity in the taxon (the item), and I do not want to understate
> the diversity.  Better to leave the character coded as unknown,
> but record the data.  At some point in the future, the data can be
> moved from the comments to where it belongs.

Absolutely... and isn't this the holy grail we are seeking in this
descriptive data standard?  I am quite sure that the model we come up
with with have a structured place for this freeform and comment
stuff... to do anything less will be to admit failure...


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