[tdwg-content] Treatise on Occurrence, tokens, and basisOfRecord

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Mon Oct 25 01:17:47 CEST 2010

An individual may be represented in several occurrence records.

You might have a bird that was photographed in one study.

Banded in another study.

Then later, preserved in a museum.

I think there is a case for being able to track this individual over time.

- Pete

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 5:43 PM, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>wrote:

> > What is a bit frustrating to me is that ideas like these
> > aren't laid out in an easy-to-understand fashion and
> > placed in easy-to-find places.  I have spent much of
> > that last year and a half trying to understand how
> > the whole TDWG/DwC universe is supposed to fit together.
> Understood, and agreed.  Part of the problem is that a lot of this stuff is
> driven by passionate individuals, who also happen to be highly
> over-committed.  There's barely enough time available to do the interesting
> bits (conceptualizing, experimenting with implementations), let alone the
> less-interesting bits (documentation).  Having said that, there are some
> early documents that go into a lot of this in great detail.  One is Stan
> Blum's description of the ASC model.  Another are a series of publications
> from Walter Berendsohn on "potential taxa".  A lot of other stuff is
> floating around the Specify project, and there are some other earlier
> sources.  But I agree, it's not easy to find, and it doesn't always cover
> the details we need it to in today's context.
> > The point that I was trying to get at (eventually) was that it
> > was inconsistent to say that images need to be referenced as
> > associatedMedia and sequences needed to be referenced as
> > associatedSequences, and yet not say that specimens needed
> > to be referenced as "associatedSpecimens".
> Hmmmm...not sure I agree.  If it is so that Occurrence=Individual+Event,
> then a Specimen can be said to *be* the Individual, whereas images, DNA
> sequences, and the like are the tokens.  In other words, Individual "is a"
> Specimen; but Individual "has a" image.  Now that I think about it, perhaps
> Specimens should not be treated on an equal par with other tokens; and
> indeed, maybe specimens aren't tokens (per your definition) at all.  This
> is
> not consistent with how I've always thought about it (see my previous
> email), but if the elusive "Individual" is key to this relationship, then
> perhaps Specimens serve as bot "evidence" of an occurrence, and the "stuff"
> of the Individual represneted by the Occurrence.
> My brain hurts.
> > I guess I'm thinking about this in terms of a token being
> > something to which we can assign an identifier and retrieve
> > a representation (a la representational state transfer).
> > Although I don't deny the existence of memory patterns in
> > neurons that are associated with a HumanObservation,
> > there isn't any way that we can receive a representation
> > of that memory directly.
> I guess it depends on what you mean by "representation".  We can't retrieve
> a specimen directly either -- but we can retrieve a database record that
> represents the specimen, and metadata associated with it.  I think the same
> can be said about a human mmory (as the foundation of an observation).
>  That
> is, there is a species identification, number of individuals, etc.,
> associated with an observation that is based on the memory of the person
> who
> made the observation, and that memory is represented by a database record
> with associated metadata.
> This conversation could go very weird, very quickly -- and maybe I'm just
> being difficult (in which case I apologize).  But now that I see that a
> specimen may, in fact, be fundamentally different from other kinds of
> evidence supporting an occurrence, I'm not longer sure what I believe
> anymore (especially after the 11-hr flight from Berlin I just got off of).
> > > Maybe the answer to this is to treat different versions of DwC as
> > > concurrent, rather than serial.
> [etc.]
> > Yes, I agree about this concept.  I think that what I'm really
> > advocating for is that we agree on what the most normalized
> > model is that will connect all of the existing Darwin Core
> > classes and terms.  In that sense, when I'm asking for
> > Individual to be accepted as a class, I'm not arguing for
> > a "new" thing, I'm arguing for a clarification of what
> > we mean when we use the existing term dwc:individualID.
> Makes sense to me.
> Aloha,
> Rich
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Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
TaxonConcept Knowledge Base <http://www.taxonconcept.org/> / GeoSpecies
Knowledge Base <http://lod.geospecies.org/>
About the GeoSpecies Knowledge Base <http://about.geospecies.org/>
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