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

John R. WIECZOREK tuco at berkeley.edu
Mon Jan 4 14:51:30 CET 2010

OK. Connectivity seems to be sufficient this week to send the intended
response to Steve's questions...

> On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 5:08 AM, Steve Baskauf
> <steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu> 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.

Your interpretation is essentially correct, but there are situations
in which the dcterms:creator of a specimen might not be the same as
the dwc:recordedBy, largely because dcterms:creator is vague enough to
be interpreted in many ways. That's partly why recordedBy was
maintained from previous incarnations of Darwin Core, where it was
"Collector". One example would be a  specimen preparator, the person
who actually makes the collected individual into a specimen. This
isn't necessarily the same  as the collector, and Darwin Core has no
term to capture that additional specimen information.

>> 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?

I would say "yes". I would also say that the derivative resources
might benefit from having an expanded controlled vocabulary for the
basisOfRecord - something like a "PreservedSpecimenPart."

>> Basically, I would like to know the intention of the use of the word
>> "original" in the definition of dwc:recordedBy.

The intention is to be very specific about who was responsible for
getting the information at the source (in the field) rather than
anything derivative. For example it could be the person for whom you
might expect to find field notes describing the event from which the
Occurrence was recorded.

Hope that is a satisfactory explanation.

>> Steve Baskauf
>> --
>> Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
>> Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences
>> postal mail address:
>> VU Station B 351634
>> Nashville, TN  37235-1634,  U.S.A.
>> delivery address:
>> 2125 Stevenson Center
>> 1161 21st Ave., S.
>> Nashville, TN 37235
>> office: 2128 Stevenson Center
>> phone: (615) 343-4582,  fax: (615) 343-6707
>> http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu

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