[tdwg-content] Request for vote on proposals to add Individual as a Darwin Core class and to add the term individualRemarks as a term within that class

Bob Morris morris.bob at gmail.com
Sun Oct 31 22:51:11 CET 2010

On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Kevin Richards <
RichardsK at landcareresearch.co.nz> wrote:
> Not sure if this has been mentioned as I have struggled to keep up with
this thread, but it sounds to me like the benefit of the Individual
class/properties is to be able > to link together various web resources that
refer to data obtained from the same individual in some manner, so we
probably need terms that allow the description of > how these individuals,
or parts of individuals relate to each other.  The Scope idea will help, but
maybe there is a need for terms like "partOfIndividual",
> "derivedFromIndividual"?

Now you're talkin Kevin!  Actually, now you're talking about ontology, and I
plead: Go slow, develop use cases; develop competency questions; develop
tools. I note that Steve was careful to separate the question of adding
terms to the normative, representation free, DwC, from the problem(s) of
making an RDF representation of same:

On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 10:38 AM, Steve Baskauf <
steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu> wrote: >
> I am pleased with the significant and thoughtful discussion that has taken
place on the tdwg-content email list
> regarding the relationships among Occurrences,
> Individuals, and other entities that are a part of the community's
thinking about biodiversity metadata
> and the way that those metadata are structured. [...] I feel that > would
be critical for
>facilitating the ultimate development of a recommendation for the
representation of Darwin Core as RDF.
> [...]

This separation is important, because what use one intends to make of an RDF
representation has a lot of bearing on what "gotcha's" one has to take care

For example, if there is a desire to exploit formal semantics available for
RDF stack ---which will probably emerge as a requirement once one starts
talking about relations between properties---then different surprises will
emerge from the pitfalls if one "merely" wishes to put SKOS relations on the
properties and reason about the SKOS instead of the science. But I guess,
for example, that Miranker's Morphster project [1] will benefit most in its
current use cases, from good mereological ontologies for descriptive data,
not just stuff like "more general than".

There are surprises even in the simplest use of RDFS and formalisms about
classes. I've previously whined about premature assignment of rdfs:domain
while conceding (did I???) that it can sometimes make a designer's intention
clearer to humans. Perhaps more startling is that type assignment
automatically "creates" an rdfs:class if one was not already available, due
to the formal semantics of rdf:type [3]. Thus, in an earlier posting, Paul
Murray  has (unintentionally?) introduced a new class apni:TaxonName in
33407.rdf [2] via
    <rdf:type rdf:resource="

Then there is the question of adequate tools for the desired style of
ontology architecture. The OWL community's important tools are not friendly
even to DublinCore, whose style is(?) what DwC follows. (Steve Baskauf has
complained to me in private email that the Manchester validators don't seem
to even check rdfs vocabulary correctly; Paul complained that Protege4 makes
a big mishmash of Properties when importing DwC. (Both of these are probably
false positives in cases of insufficient typing of properties themselves,
and the OWL community probably doesn't care about the origin or utility of
such weak typing  [4]. )

So the hard part is yet to come.  But I agree with you. It is quite

Bob Morris

Robert A. Morris
Emeritus Professor  of Computer Science
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125-3390
Associate, Harvard University Herbaria
email: morris.bob at gmail.com
web: http://bdei.cs.umb.edu/
web: http://etaxonomy.org/mw/FilteredPush
http://www.cs.umb.edu/~ram <http://www.cs.umb.edu/%7Eram>
phone (+1) 857 222 7992 (mobile)

[1] http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~miranker/studentWeb/MorphsterHomePage.html<http://www.cs.utexas.edu/%7Emiranker/studentWeb/MorphsterHomePage.html>
[2] http://biodiversity.org.au/apni.name/33407.rdf
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-schema/#ch_type

> --
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