[tdwg-content] Conflict between DarwinCore and DublinCoreusageof dcterms:type / basisOfRecord

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sun Nov 1 09:17:38 CET 2009

> I can't remember where, maybe in one of Rich's examples, I 
> thought I saw the basisOfRecord for a taxonName designated 
> as: "NomenclaturalAct".  I thought that was both correct and 
> precise.  Similarly, I think the basis of a taxon record 
> should be a "TaxonomicAct", i.e., a published description or 
> reclassification.  

Well...."NomenclaturalAct" is certainly in my vocabulary; but the
overarching term I use (and likely would have used in my posted examples) is
"TaxonNameUsage".  Anytime a human uses a taxon name (and, really: who else
besides humans use taxon names?), it's a TaxonNameUsage instance. Taken to
the extreme, this includes casual/ephemeral conversations and other such
utterances. However, in the realm of biodiversity informatics, I generally
confine it to "documented" TaxonNameUsage instances.  Although "documented"
can be very broadly defined (including, e.g., correspondence, field notes,
specimen labels and other single-copy documents), in our world it is largely
dominated by publications and publication-like documentation sources.

TaxonNameUsage instances can "carry" things like Nomenclatural Acts and
Taxon Concept circumscriptions, but I'm not sure if, ontologically speaking,
it's appropriate to think of these as subtypes. They are certainly *not*
mutually exclusive -- indeed, essentially every TaxonNameUsage that contains
a nomenclatural act also represents a taxon concept/circumscription.
However, there are many, many, many TNUs that represent Taxon Concept
circumscriptions, but do not carry Nomenclatural Acts.  And then there are
TNUs that are neither: things like published type catalogs which certainly
"use" taxon names (hence: TNU), but neither carry a Nomenclatural Act nor
imply, assert or represent a Taxon Concept.

Anyway....I'm not entirely sure I would populate basisOfRecord with any of
these terms for records representing recordClass=Taxon.  But maybe I would
-- I don't know.  In part, I guess, it depends on where this particular
discussion ends up.


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences
  and Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology
Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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