[tdwg-content] Occurrences, Organisms, and CollectionObjects: a review

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Thu Sep 8 05:54:37 CEST 2011

As one of the primary brawlers on this topic, I've already said enough 
about it, so I will restrain myself and just say that I fully support 
the proposal.

Well, mostly restrain myself...  I will make one comment about what John 
said below.  Although it is true that a CollectionObject (or "evidence") 
would probably need to have been derived from an organism to be relevant 
in the Darwin Core context, there is no reason why a CollectionObject 
cannot simultaneously serve as evidence that the Organism existed, that 
an Occurrence occurred, and as support for an Identification.  
Particularly in the case of specimens, it is likely that the 
CollectionObject will usually serve all three purposes at once.  A 
CollectionObject could actually serve as "evidence" for anything you 
want.  To some extent, that's one of the reasons for decoupling 
PreservedSpecimen from Occurrence.

For more pontification on this subject, I will refer to 
http://code.google.com/p/darwin-sw/wiki/ClassToken (where Token is 
equivalent to what John is calling CollectionObject).  The first figure 
on the page illustrates diagramatically what I said in the paragraph above.


John Wieczorek wrote:
> and exclusion has been voiced. The basic idea is to use this class to
> cover information that could be considered "persistent evidence" that
> an organism occurred, and that the concept is distinct from both
> "Organism" and Occurrence. Evidence might include collection-based
> materials, digital media, written materials, and literature.
> "Evidence" may be a bit vague as a name for the class, providing no
> real indication that the "Evidence" should apply to an "Organism"
> rather than to an Occurrence, Taxon, Identification, or any other
> class. Nor does it convey the idea that the evidence should be
> persistent. "PersistentEvidenceThatAnOrganismExisted" gets the idea
Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences

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