[tdwg-content] Can all DwC be Simple DwC?

joel sachs jsachs at csee.umbc.edu
Wed Jan 5 19:25:41 CET 2011

It may be worth teasing out the boundary of what can/cannot be 
represented via simple (i.e. flat) Darwin Core. Auxilliary terms (which 
comprise the classes "MeasurementOrFact" and "ResourceRelationship") are 
currently left out of Simple Darwin Core. The DwC Terms Quick Reference Guide [1] states:
"The terms found under the Auxiliary Terms section can only be meaningfully implemented in an 
application that supports relational structures".

The Simple Darwin Core reference [2] explains "Every field in the Simple 
Darwin Core may appear either once or not at all in a single record - otherwise how could you 
distinguish one 'scientificName' field from another one?"

Couldn't this be addressed using subscripts? E.g.
MeasurementID_1="tail length"
MeasurementID_2="brain volume"
MeasurementUnit_2="cubic cm"

(There is precedent for subscripting rdf properties:

Allowing this would increase the types of data that can be exchanged via 
spreadsheet. It would also have the virtue of 
permitting a single DwC standard, which would help to lesssen 
confusion amongst potential adopters. (The existence of a "Simple Darwin 
Core" seems to imply that "regular Darwin Core" is not simple.) Are 
there reasons not to do this?

Thanks -

1. http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/
2. http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/simple/index.htm

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