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

Blum, Stan SBlum at calacademy.org
Tue Oct 26 10:35:23 CEST 2010

Steve et al.,

I've created a page on the TDWG TAG wiki for historical documents and
diagrams and posted the ASC model there.


This may not be the best place for this, but I think TDWG should and will
try to keep things like this available for their historical significance.

I think this was the first published model to specify the Locality,
CollectingEvent, CollectingUnit chain of relationships.  It think it was
also the first to specify CollectingUnit as a series of subtypes.  I think
those features have held up pretty well over the intervening years (almost 2
decades!). As you will see, it was missing all the necessary detail to
implement a real database, but many subsequent models and DBs reflected
these concepts.  Note also that the model never made it into any formal
standards process, so remained a draft.

The next significant modeling efforts got very elaborate, such as the MVZ
and Specify models, but those were explicitly for guiding the development of
single applications, not for data exchange.  As we got into data exchange
with XML documents and XML schema specifications, we saw a strong
disagreement within the TDWG (biodiversity informatics) community about the
advisability of very simple and limited specifications (DarwinCore), versus
very complex specifications (ABCD).

Over the last decade, what we have done in (most of?) the biodiversity
information networks is to deploy application schemas; the data
specification is used by a relatively limited number of software tools.
With RDF I think we are trying to break the binding between a consuming
application and a single source schema.  I think this is still a thorny
problem, however, and detailed conceptual models will have uses, but any
single model will have its limits.  What will be interesting, I think, will
be to show how databases made for different purposes can be integrated with
well-designed conceptual models and RDF.  We need to hear from the other RDF
wonks about the principles we should be using in constructing our schemas,
like the warnings about property ranges and domains (which I still don't



On 10/25/10 7:30 PM, "Steve Baskauf" <steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu> wrote:

> Are these things available online somewhere?  URLs?
> What's the ASC model?
> Steve
> Richard Pyle wrote:
>> 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.

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