[tdwg-content] Request for withdrawal of proposal to move dwc:establishmentMeans to proposed the DwC class Individual

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Sun Oct 31 15:29:09 CET 2010

In my previous understanding of Occurrence in which a single token was 
incorporated as a part of an Occurrence, I considered an Individual to 
have ceased to exist and to have become an Occurrence of type 
LivingSpecimen when it was collected to be part of a collection (e.g. 
zoo).  Given this understanding, I felt that there were few or no cases 
where the establishmentMeans of an Individual would change (excluding 
its capture and incorporation in a collection) and therefore it made 
sense for having a single establishmentMeans value for the individual.  
However, under the apparent consensus opinion that the token documenting 
an Occurrence is a separate entity, I no longer believe that there is 
any purpose in recognizing an entity called "LivingSpecimen".  A living 
specimen is simply an individual with curation information.  The token 
for an Occurrence that involves the collection of a living specimen is 
the Individual itself (in the case of removal of the entire organism) or 
a different Individual (i.e. in the case where a new individual is 
propagated vegetatively from the Individual being documented by the 
Occurrence).  Given this understanding, the establishmentMeans of an 
Individual can change over time, so it is not possible for every 
Individual to have a single value for establishmentMeans. 

The consensus that seems to have emerged from the tdwg-content 
discussion is that dwc:establishmentMeans is a complex thing that 
describes the relationship of an Individual to a Location that can 
change over time.  I do not see how establishmentMeans is a property of 
an Occurrence - in fact it is not clear to me exactly how one applies 
establishmentMeans as a property to an instance of any existing DwC 
class.  But in any case, there does not now seem to be any advantage to 
moving it from the class Occurrence to the proposed class Individual, so 
I officially withdraw my proposal if that is possible.  Alternatively, 
the TAG could take a vote and vote the proposal down, but I think that 
would be a waste of time.


Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences

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