[tdwg-content] FW: [STDTRK] Request for a Decision for Public Review of DarwinCore Draft Standard

Markus Döring m.doering at mac.com
Wed Aug 26 10:10:26 CEST 2009

This is the crux of having terms not bound to a class.
The scientificName term to me only suggests "this is a scientific  
name", not what it is used for.
Only the context of this term in an occurrence instance/record should  
be more specific and restrict the use of scientificName within an  
occurrence as the latest identification.

Should we therefore also define at least the very basic classes  
(occurrence, taxon, location) and the restricted definition of terms  
within an instance?
This is getting closeer to the complexity of an ontology though...


On Aug 26, 2009, at 3:20, Donald Hobern wrote:

> Thanks, John.
> I must still be missing something on the definitions of Event, etc.   
> Where
> are the definitions you quote below?
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/type-vocabulary/index.htm has  
> definitions like
> the rather circular "A resource describing an occurrence" and the  
> cryptic "A
> non-persistent, time-based occurrence" - which raises a whole new  
> problem
> because (at least as I understand it) "occurrence" in this  
> definition means
> something more general than "occurrence" as used for the Occurrence  
> resource
> type.
> As for the question whether examples or lengthier definitions would  
> be good,
> I tend to think that in Dublin Core world, examples would only be a  
> sample
> of possible uses within the range intended by a definition and that  
> they may
> therefore help to steer people towards appropriate use but cannot  
> introduce
> any constraints which could help us to tighten up cross-resource data
> integration.  The scientific name example is a clear case.  I have a  
> feeling
> that the semantics for this element as it stands right now (spanning
> Occurrence and Checklist uses) imply a very general definition like  
> "the
> scientific name which is connected with this item" with the nature  
> of that
> connection unstated or at best covered by an implicit "it should be  
> obvious
> in each case what we expect to see in this field".  I admit that  
> abuses of
> this term to do things we don't expect seem unlikely - someone giving
> ScientificName="Homo sapiens" because that is the scientific name  
> for the
> collector, or something.  However the laudable wish not to over- 
> restrict the
> use of these terms does have the corollary that consumers of data  
> always
> have to be aware that a provider may use the terms in semantically
> incompatible ways.  If we knew that Occurrence->ScientificName was  
> defined
> to mean something like "the scientific name used for the most  
> refined taxon
> concept to which the specimen or observation has been identified",  
> and that
> Occurrence->DecimalLatitude and Occurrence->DecimalLongitude related  
> to the
> site at which the observation was made or the specimen was  
> collected, we
> would more or less have a contract that Occurrence records  
> containing a
> ScientificName, Latitude and Longitude were explicit assertions that  
> an
> individual of the given taxon concept had indeed been found at those
> coordinates.  If we have no assurance that the ScientificName  
> relates to the
> identification of the specimen/observation, or that the coordinates  
> relate
> to the observing/collecting site (rather than say the coordinates  
> for the
> collection building), we always have some latent uncertainty about  
> what is
> asserted.
> Very best wishes,
> Donald
> -----Original Message-----
> From: gtuco.btuco at gmail.com [mailto:gtuco.btuco at gmail.com] On Behalf  
> Of John
> Sent: Wednesday, 26 August 2009 10:52 AM
> To: Donald Hobern
> Cc: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org
> Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] FW: [STDTRK] Request for a Decision for  
> Public
> Review of DarwinCore Draft Standard
> Finally getting around to some older messages in an effort to finish
> up the public review of Darwin Core.  Comments inline.
> On Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 6:03 PM, Donald Hobern<dhobern at gmail.com>  
> wrote:
>> At Gail's request, I'm forwarding some discussion between Renato and
> myself
>> on the Darwin Core draft
>> Thanks,
>> Donald
>> Renato,
>> You are quite right - domains and ranges may cause us more  
>> problems.  At
>> very least it may be sensible for these to be things which get  
>> asserted
>> within other OWL files used within specific projects to govern  
>> their own
>> application models and inference rules.
> Domains have been removed for all terms. A new attribute
> "organizedInClass" is used for term organizational maintenance.
>> In the end my concerns are really around the need for more clarity  
>> on the
>> way that the dcTerms:type values are to be used and how this  
>> relates to
> past
>> use of Darwin Core.  I'm not sure I ultimately disagree with any of  
>> the
>> decisions made.  However I still cannot find any actual definition  
>> for the
>> Occurrence and Event cases to explain what situations they are  
>> intended to
>> cover.  Unless we take the time to define the intended scope for  
>> all our
>> terms and property values, it is hard to predict whether data from
> multiple
>> sources can be expected to be suitable for combination.
> I agree that there a great challenge for the new Darwin Core will be
> to make sure that publishers and consumers do not mix apples with
> oranges, unless their particular use case warrants doing so.
> What is missing from the explanations at
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/type-vocabulary/index.htm? Or from the
> definitions:
> Event - The category of information pertaining to an event (an action
> that occurs at a place and during a period of time).
> Occurrence - The category of information pertaining to evidence of an
> occurrence in nature, in a collection, or in a dataset (specimen,
> observation, etc.).
> dcmitype:Event - A non-persistent, time-based occurrence. For Darwin
> Core, a resource describing an instance of the Location class.
> dwctype:Occurrence - A resource describing an instance of the  
> Occurrence
> class.
>> The scientific name case is one example.  I would like an explicit
> statement
>> that it means nothing more than "the name of a taxon (somehow)  
>> associated
>> with this record" rather like a Dublin Core subject.  If, e.g. in  
>> the case
>> of an Occurrence record, it is meant to be a statement that a taxon  
>> was
>> actually recorded at the location on the given date, we may need to  
>> be
> more
>> explicit.  I'm still not comfortable with leaving these things  
>> unstated.
> Would clarity be best served by examples? Or by lengthier definitions?
> I have adopted the Dublin Core tendency toward brevity wherever
> possible, not pretending to know the scope of usage of a term in the
> long run. We have the supplementary wiki at our disposal to clarify as
> much as necessary. It has only just begun to be filled with useful
> material that I happened to feel qualified to provide based on my
> experience. I think we could do a lot more with it, and not affect the
> standard while doing so.
>> I must however emphasise that I am very happy to see how much work  
>> has
> gone
>> into this revision and the level of forethought in addressing many
> important
>> issues.
> Much appreciated, sincerely.
> John
>> Donald
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: renato at cria.org.br [mailto:renato at cria.org.br]
>> Sent: Friday, 24 July 2009 7:04 AM
>> Subject: RE: [STDTRK] Request for a Decision for Public Review of
> DarwinCore
>> Draft Standard
>> Hi Donald,
>> Scientific name is precisely the kind of term that I feel should be
>> generic. There's an ancient search interface at CRIA that  
>> illustrates the
>> use case "give me everything you have related with this scientific  
>> name":
>> http://names.cria.org.br/index?lang=en
>> (check all checkboxes at the bottom of the page)
>> In SPARQL I think the query would simply look like:
>> SELECT ?x
>> WHERE { ?x  <http://rs.tdwg.org/ont/scientificName>  "some name" }
>> instead of repeating the same condition for every possible  
>> combination of
>> domain#property.
>> Most id properties (collectionID, locationID, etc.) should also  
>> probably
>> be "domainless" since they can appear in objects from many different
>> classes.
>> Best Regards,
>> --
>> Renato
>>> Looking at what is in the DwC document, I think my concerns are with
>>> plans to use DwC for checklist data rather than the DwC proposal  
>>> itself,
>>> but the problem issue may be in there somewhere.  Here are some  
>>> comments
> I
>>> sent earlier:
>>> I need to take some time and provide some comments on the use of  
>>> Darwin
>>> Core for non-occurrence data.  In general I believe we need to be  
>>> moving
>>> towards simple class properties with tightly defined explanations  
>>> of the
>>> expected content and format.  This use of DwC seems to me to be a
>>> significant dilution of the semantic content of these properties.   
>>> If DwC
>>> is an object property just for a taxon occurrence, the explanation  
>>> of
>>> dwc:ScientificName would be something like "The scientific name  
>>> assigned
>>> to the taxon to which the recorded organism was identified".  If we
> extend
>>> it to cover taxon occurrences, checklist entries and all the other  
>>> things
>>> that people seem to have in mind, the explanation would reduce to  
>>> "The
>>> scientific name which is associated with this record".  In  
>>> practice few
>>> people will be stumbled, but I really don't like it.  It would be  
>>> so easy
>>> just to have chk:ScientificName as well as dwc:ScientificName and  
>>> to keep
>>> the semantics explicit. This becomes particularly problematic when  
>>> we
>>> play with RDFS and OWL. We could choose to define the
> "dwc:ScientificName"
>>> property to have a domain restricted to TaxonOccurrence, allowing a
>>> reasoner > to infer that objects with this property can be treated  
>>> as
>>> TaxonOccurrence records.  With the diluted dwc:ScientificName all  
>>> we can
>>> infer is that the object is a
>>> ThingWithSomethingToDoWithTheBiologicalDomain.
>>> Donald
>> --
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