Mapping Lucid Characters to Prometheus 2

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Thu Mar 18 13:57:59 CET 2004

(Further thoughts on problems I see in structural decompositions).

The main unknown problem I see is how to express variability and lack
or uncertainty of knowledge about structural observations. This may
be exceptional in the extremely well studied higher plants, but not
so in small organisms that are often only imperfectly studied yet.

An example is "Chlorophyll in stems or leaves". You basically suggest
reformulating it to fit a given model that is considered more
effective for identification. In higher plants the assumption would
be that since the information is not available in the combined
statement, this involves some literature research, and perhaps
looking at a herbarium specimen. However, already in higher plants in
a key to families this is far from trivial, and in many organism
groups this imprecise synthetic statement may be the only knowledge

Very similar case occur very frequently for temporal or spatial
modifications (which may be "regions" or not).

Also, I think you suggest in addition to Leaf-Cholorphyll Presence
and Stem-Chlorophyll Presence
to have:

Entire Plant - Colour - specify any colour

Which I believe would truly have to be above-ground vegetative parts
(I assume that the root color would not be considered, although roots
are included in entire plant). Providing these combined sub-
partitions (do you do that in the Prometheus model?) is necessarily a
choice among multiple combinations possible (for vascular bundle
characters combining root and stem may be desirable) that can not be
fit into a single hierarchy (do you provide multiple hierarchies?).

I do agree that better structured models have analytical advantages.
So far our believe is that currently no better model is well tested
and that limitations in the  range of possible statements (which
naturally do exist in the SDD model as well) need careful
consideration and testing. In that case the attempt of Prometheus to
do exactly such testing (i.e. not only to design an ontology model,
but record data and test its use in identification processes is
extremely valuable for the future.

My own goal would be to allow less structured descriptions being
expressed in SDD, but to support working ("voluntarily") in a model
that is highly and systematically structured. Applications may have
"modes" for rigourous or lenient behavior, but not the exchange

Gregor Hagedorn (G.Hagedorn at
Institute for Plant Virology, Microbiology, and Biosafety
Federal Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA)
Koenigin-Luise-Str. 19          Tel: +49-30-8304-2220
14195 Berlin, Germany           Fax: +49-30-8304-2203

Often wrong but never in doubt!

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