[Tdwg-lit] Level 1 - Intent of standard

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Thu Feb 16 14:55:39 CET 2006

> I would like to hear from those who suggested this standard was needed, as
> to the intent of this level of standard (I'm not sure I recall who that was
> anymore) and from there we should make decisions about how complete they
> need to be.  I was, naively, thinking that direct string comparisons would
> be possible, if the standard were clear (at least to the point that one
> might be part of another or they might overlap, or occur 'next to' each
> other etc.).
> Anna

I see multiple reasons:

a) Data exist. If we look at existing databases in many cases literature 
reference are simply entered as free-form text. This is also the case in the 
TDWG ABCD standard, where any occurrence of publication/reference occurs 
through unstructured string.

Making a-posteriori requirements how exactly this string looks effectively 
prevents data exchange.

b) you build new knowledge in an area, where references are secondary. And you 
have limited money, time, etc. You may whish to purposely decide that the 
situation created so often in a) is still good enough for you. It is a trade-

c) In many cases when an object (in this example a reference) is presented for 
human consumption, a single-string representation is desirable.

Now, here it would be truly useful to have rules how to create this string in 
any case where more detailed / atomized data are available.

d) Perhaps confusing, please ignore if so: Seen from the other side, when we 
are in a specimen and want to say the specimen has been published somewhere, 
technically it would be sufficient to simple store a uri. However, considering 
we want to express scientific data, I believe it would be wise to store a uri 
plus a single string representation. If the uri breaks (say in 50 years), we 
still have the scientific data.

These are the reasons why in UBIF we believe we need for every object a level 1 

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

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