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

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Sat Dec 5 14:08:16 CET 2009

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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