[tdwg-content] Heretics and illuminati, oh my! [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Kevin Richards RichardsK at landcareresearch.co.nz
Mon May 9 06:07:57 CEST 2011


I had the same thought (ie the x is of type dwc:Taxon, y is of type tc:Taxon, we know dwc:Taxon and tc:Taxon are equivalent, so we can reasonably compare x and y).
And this is built into standard semantic web reasoners - which is a bonus.
But this was debated (taking into account Bob Morris' issue) with respect to DwC and it was decided the benefits weren't significantly better than having a "dwc:isInCategory" sort of property that could then be "equivalent to" another class property and therefore giving you a similar advantage (admittedly not as good, but similar).
Do you think this is reasonable or are we just losing too much semantic web benefits by not specifying the domain constraint?


-----Original Message-----
From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Paul Murray
Sent: Monday, 9 May 2011 3:49 p.m.
To: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org List
Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] Heretics and illuminati, oh my! [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

> Well, the advantage is that applications that wish to integrate with such data need not make the declaration as part of the application. This particularly applies to things that don't understand taxonomy, things that browse the semantic web in general. It allows things like that to look at a whole world of URIs that identify tc taxa, a whole world of uris that identify DwC taxa, and go "hang on, these have something in common".

Another purpose of these kinds of declaration is to answer questions like: "Ok, what *kinds of thing* might be meaningfully said about the scientific name Fabaceae"?", or "What existing vocabulary terms describe teeth?"

This might be particularly applicable when people start minting their own vocabulary terms.

If the herpetologists get together and produce a vocabulary for describing reptile scales, by linking their vocabulary to existing well-known generic ones (eg, the "old" tdwg terms) it becomes possible to build editors that are "smart", that understand that if you are defining a DwC specimen record, then "scale shape" is a predicate that you might want to apply to it.

The herpetology vocabulary can contain specific things that would not appear in TDWG: for instance, the class "scaled thing". The moment you declare that a thing has a herp:scaleShape, then we infer that it is a herp:ScaledThing, and that therefore it might/must also have values for certain other properties. In addition, an application can group the properties relating to scaledThings together, rather than having all possible properties as a alphabetically sorted list. That is: the vocabulary does something useful beyond being simply a list of field names.

Perhaps it might be put like this: it's these declarations that put the semantics in the semantic web. Without them, you simply have linked data.

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