[tdwg-content] Change of DwC terms stateProvince, county, and municipality?
jan.markus.englund at gmail.com
Tue Aug 28 23:47:38 CEST 2012
I have noticed that use of the Darwin Core terms stateProvince, county, and municipality sometimes can be quite confusing. This confusion may arise when a term name does not reflect the content, like when the term stateProvince does not refer to a state or province, or when the term county does not refer to a county. Take my own country Sweden for example, where the Darwin Core term stateProvince refers to the name of a county, the term county refers to the name of a municipality, and the term municipality refers to the name of a parish...
As long as everyone stick to the definitions, literal meaning of term names doesn't really matters. Unfortunately, however, people sometimes tend to focus more on the literal meaning of term names than on the actual meaning of defined concepts. To make the Darwin Core terminology less confusing, I think words associated with geographic ranks should be removed from the term names. I suggest the following changes (you may come up with better ones yourself!):
“stateProvince” --> “countryFirstOrderSubdivision”
“county” --> “countrySecondOrderSubdivision”
“municipality” --> “countryThirdOrderSubdivision”
After having delved into the Darwin Core geography specifications, I also feel that these three terms would benefit from more consistent and clear-cut definitions. I have included proposed new definitions at the end of this mail. My intention is not to alter the meaning of any of the existing terms, just to make the definitions more precise. Each proposed new definition is also accompanied by a revised comment with examples.
To conclude, here are some questions to think about:
1) Would it be desirable to have other names for the terms stateProvince, county, and municipality? If so, what names should be used instead?
2) Are the current definitions of the terms stateProvince, county, and municipality sufficiently good? If not, how should they be defined? Does the definitions proposed here make things clearer?
3) Would more elaborate examples in the comments like the ones presented here improve the Darwin Core standard?
Looking forward to hear of any response!
Department of Biodiversity Informatics
Swedish Museum of Natural History
P.O. Box 50007
SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden
SOME RELATED LINKS
Wikipedia: Table of administrative divisions by country
UN Second Administrative Level Boundaries
UN Gazetetteer - a global place name database and search engine
GADM database of Global Administrative Areas
PROPOSED NEW DEFINITIONS AND COMMENTS
Term Name: countryFirstOrderSubdivision
Definition: The full, unabbreviated name of the primary administrative division below country level in which the Location occurs. The named region should be a subdivision of the region referred to in the country term.
Comment: Examples: "Montana" (a federal state in the USA), "Minas Gerais" (a federative unit in Brazil), "Neuquén" (a province in Argentina), "Hesse" (a federal state in Germany), "Stockholms län" (a county in Sweden).
Term Name: countrySecondOrderSubdivision
Definition: The full, unabbreviated name of the second-order administrative division below country level in which the Location occurs. The named region should be a subdivision of the region referred to in the countryFirstOrderSubdivision term.
Comment: Examples: "Missoula" (a county located in the federal state Montana, USA), "Los Lagos" (a department located in the province Neuquén, Argentina), "Darmstadt" (a government district located in the federal state Hesse, Germany), "Sigtuna" (a municipality located in the county Stockholms län, Sweden).
Term Name: countryThirdOrderSubdivision
Definition: The name of the third-order administrative division below country level in which the Location occurs. The named region should be a subdivision of the region referred to in the countrySecondOrderSubdivision term.
Comment: Examples: "Hainburg" (a municipality located in the government district Darmstadt in Hesse, Germany), "Norrsunda" (a parish located in the municipality Sigtuna in Stockholms län, Sweden)
More information about the tdwg-content