[tdwg-content] DwC Basis of Record & dcterms:type

Roger Hyam rogerhyam at mac.com
Mon Nov 30 17:43:10 CET 2009

I apologise if I come to this debate a little late but prompted by John and my renewed interest in the TDWG Ontology I feel I should. I have several short points. I hope I am not out of scope not being fully conversant with the debate so far.

Generally we judge the class of an object by its properties. i.e. If it walks like a duck and quacks it is probably a duck (apologies to ornithologists)
The sender and receiver often have a different classification systems for messages. e.g. Published specimen data is often(perhaps usually) received and treated as occurrence data.
I assume DwC is an generic way for marking up messages rather than a full blown ontology. The basisOfRecord and dcterms:type should therefore be thought of as hints on how to interpret a record rather than declarations of class membership. Class membership is decided by the receiver. An "unmissable special offer" to the sender may be a  "useful fire lighter" to the receiver.
dcterms:type is used by the world and so should probably contain a generic term for systems/people who don't understand basisOfRecord.
basisOfRecord should contain anything that is well defined in natural language.

I suppose I am saying I don't understand the problem. Can some one summarise it?



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