[Tdwg-lit] Level 2 starting point

Roger Hyam roger at tdwg.org
Wed Feb 15 21:55:39 CET 2006

Hi Anna and all,

Two points on this:

   1. RDF does not stop you building nested structures, quite the
   opposite. So long as the structure goes node-arc-node (or
   Object-property-Object-property if you prefer) it can be nested as deep as
   you like. You can therefore have an XML structure that both vaildates
   against an XML Schema or DTD and is valid RDF (see
   http://www.prismstandard.org where they do this). This would be a good
   way to think about designing XML Schema based documents even if you had no
   intention of using RDF.
    2. RDF is not a panacea. It would be crazy to try and describe
   documents with it when one should be use XHTML or some other document
   centric approach. It is good for 'metadata' (depending on what that is)

There seems to be a rumour going round that everything is going to be RDF
starting next week. This is news to me!

It seems like a good idea to evaluate RDF as an interoperability mechanism
between standards though and the use of LSIDs suggests heading in this
direction to describe objects. Whether the objects themselves are encoded in
RDF is something else.

All the best,


On 15/02/06, Anna Weitzman <Weitzman at si.edu> wrote:
> Good points.  I wonder if TDWG-TAG will be the place for this larger,
> conceptual discussion?
> >>> "Gregor Hagedorn" <G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE> 15-Feb-2006 7:51:45 AM >>>
> > One comment following from the GUID meeting is that I believe we need to
> get
> > serious about being able to represent our data models in RDF. This means
> > that the goal should indeed be for a "flat" (Darwin Core like) standard.
> If
> > there are elements which hold nested complexity that we wish to
> represent,
> > we should recognise that these are probably separate data objects which
> > should be modeled as separable components (with their own "flat"
> standards).
> > The top level object can then have a property whose value is the
> identifier
> > for one of the lower level components. Even if we choose to compose rich
> > documents with entire trees of object relationships, the underlying
> model
> > should make these separations clear.
> I am concerned about this, to me it seems to block the way into a future
> for
> scientific data exchange.
> Flat list is great for advertising, (see e.g. DublinCore, DarwinCore or
> RSS),
> but not really for exchanging complex data.
> Completely forbidding any object aggregation would mean that each
> measurement
> of a specimen has a stand-alone resource... Or each author in a
> publication
> (because authors have addresses, so they can not be just a list, the list
> elements have structure).
> Where can we discuss this issue which goes far beyond the TDWG-LIT?
> Gregor----------------------------------------------------------
> Gregor Hagedorn *(G.Hagedorn at bba.de <%28G.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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Roger Hyam
Technical Architect
Taxonomic Databases Working Group
roger at tdwg.org
+44 1578 722782
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