Name for the standard

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Tue Sep 16 20:42:24 CEST 2003

> 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 biological
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 this
> reference to a "taxonomic concept."

I guess that lies at the heart of my original question.  I've been under the
impression that descriptive data about, for example, certain characteristics
of a leaf, are related to the tree from which the leaf fell, moreso than the
abstract taxonomic concept in which some taxonomist might include that tree
within. In that sense, I see "taxonomy" as a field that may very well be a
(the?) primary consumer of such descriptive data, but not necessarily what
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 not
be viewed within the context of a taxonomic concept.

Again, my apologies if this is drifting too far from the focus of this


Richard L. Pyle
Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at

More information about the tdwg-content mailing list