Name for the standard

Kevin Thiele kevin.thiele at BIGPOND.COM
Thu Sep 18 07:00:06 CEST 2003

See my previous email - what's so special about higher-level taxonomic
concepts cf specimens? The character space created to describe a taxon can
also be used perfectly well to describe a specimen of that taxon (and vice
versa) in most cases. In fact, it could not be any other way, when you think
about it.


----- Original Message -----
From: "P. Bryan Heidorn" <heidorn at ALEXIA.LIS.UIUC.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 9:05 PM
Subject: Re: Name for the standard

> As an information scientists and not a "taxonomists" in the systematics
use of
> the world, but certainly a taxonomists in the Library Science use of the
> e.g. Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) I think the work practice now is
> describe higher level taxonomic concepts independent of the raw data the
> specimen. It is the description of a class of objects not the object
> themselves. Even at the species level the taxonomists is not claiming to
> seen all of the individuals, just enough to make generalizations. So I
> this generalization needs to be addressed by SDD. It would be icing on the
> cake if SDD could deal with the relationship to instance data as well.
> Bryan
> >===== Original Message From TDWG - Structure of Descriptive Data
> >> I think  in theory the SDD spec could be used to describe
> >> anything that can be
> >> broken into characteristics and states. That can certainly go
> >> beyond biology
> >> as DELTA did in some cases. I believe that, "Structure of
> >> Descriptive Data"
> >> handles that idea. It can be a description of anything. The
> >> description may
> >> itself be grounded in instance data from the world (specimens)
> >> that have been
> >> abstracted or summarized.
> >
> >If the intent is to maintain it so generalized that it can be used in any
> >context, including abiotic ones (in the same sense that DiGIR is
> >specifically intended to be "Generic", not necessarily limited to
> >datasets), then I agree -- stick with "SDD".
> >
> >> The taxonomy component is needed to specify what it is that is being
> >> described. In the realm of biology it would seem to be worth some
> >> effort to be domain specific in this part to make sure we can capture
> >> reference to a "taxonomic concept."
> >
> >I guess that lies at the heart of my original question.  I've been under
> >impression that descriptive data about, for example, certain
> >of a leaf, are related to the tree from which the leaf fell, moreso than
> >abstract taxonomic concept in which some taxonomist might include that
> >within. In that sense, I see "taxonomy" as a field that may very well be
> >(the?) primary consumer of such descriptive data, but not necessarily
> >the descriptive data is specifically endeavoring to describe.
> >
> >I don't want to belabor this point, but I just would like to understand
> >whether taxonomic concepts are considered by this group as the direct
> >objects that are being described; or whether the descriptive data really
> >apply to individual (or sets of individual) organisms, which may or may
> >be viewed within the context of a taxonomic concept.
> >
> >Again, my apologies if this is drifting too far from the focus of this
> >discussion.
> >
> >Aloha,
> >Rich
> >
> >Richard L. Pyle
> >Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
> >1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
> >Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
> >email: deepreef at
> >
> --
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> P. Bryan Heidorn    Graduate School of Library and Information Science
> pheidorn at   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
> (V)217/ 244-7792    501 East Daniel St., Champaign, IL  61820-6212
> (F)217/ 244-3302

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