[tdwg-content] clarification of the use of dwc:recordedBy

Roger Hyam rogerhyam at mac.com
Tue Dec 8 14:51:26 CET 2009


It sounds like you have a lack of IDs. 

You always need at least two IDs to express anything. One is the ID of thing (the Occurrence) the other is the ID of the metadata for the occurrence (the occurrence record?). You can then say whether the dcterms:creator is describing the metadata (record) or the thing itself (event).

If you have a photo of the thing then you need at least one more ID to show that the dcterms:creator is the person who took the photo not the person who created the specimen or the person who created the metadata.

In a flat record you can't express all this without getting really in a twist with which object which field applies to. I guess ( and this is a guess) that is why dwc:recordedBy exists. It is really the creator of the record (in the sense of the biologist with a pencil) and not the creator of the digital record (as in the system that is publishing this thing on the web).

As the semantics get more complex one has to give up and go to regular RDF or risk adding more and more fields.

Just my two pence worth. John may have a more practical explanation.

All the best,


On 5 Dec 2009, at 13:08, Steve Baskauf wrote:

> John et al.,
> I have been pondering the difference of the use of the terms 
> dwc:recordedBy and dcterms:creator (http://purl.org/dc/terms/creator). 
> dcterms:creator is defined as:
> "An entity primarily responsible for making the resource."
> dwc:recordedBy is defined as:
> A list (concatenated and separated) of names of people, groups, or 
> organizations responsible for recording the original Occurrence. The 
> primary collector or observer, especially one who applies a personal 
> identifier (recordNumber), should be listed first.
> Except for the one word "original" in dwc:recordedBy, I would believe 
> that these two terms would mean the same thing in the case of Occurrence 
> resources.  In some cases, such as the collection of a physical specimen 
> or photographing a live organism, I think that they are the same thing.  
> The entity that creates the resource (specimen or image) is the same 
> entity that has recorded the Occurrence.  However, in the situation 
> where a specimen is imaged, the resulting image resource would have a 
> dcterms:creator that was the person or institution that did the specimen 
> imaging, while according to the way that I read the definition, 
> dwc:recordedBy for the specimen image would have a value that specified 
> the collector of the specimen (not the photographer). 
> If I am correct in this interpretation, this distinction would be useful 
> in the case of images because it would allow for a simple mechanism to 
> distinguish between images that directly record the appearance of 
> individual organisms and images that are simply digital representations 
> of some other thing that records the appearance of an individual 
> organism, i.e. if dcterms:creator= =dwc:recordedBy then the resource was 
> collected directly from an organsim and if dcterms:creator 
> !=dwc:recordedBy then the resource might represent some other resource 
> that was collected directly from an organism. 
> I am not sure how this would apply in situations other than images.  For 
> example, if a spider were collected and assigned a persistent 
> identifier, then later for a character documentation project the body 
> parts were separated and considered separate specimens with their own 
> identifiers, would the metadata for a leg specimen resource have 
> dcterms:creator as the person who made the leg prep and dwc:recordedBy 
> be the person who collected the spider?
> Basically, I would like to know the intention of the use of the word 
> "original" in the definition of dwc:recordedBy.
> Steve Baskauf
> -- 
> Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
> Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences
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