[tdwg-content] Change of DwC terms stateProvince, county, and municipality?

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Wed Aug 29 16:40:14 CEST 2012

Aren't these terms in Darwin Core primarily applicable to specimen (and I suppose also observation) records?  And don't specimen labels sometimes include these geopolitical subdivisions?  And aren't those geopolitical subdivisions included on the labels sometimes not modern, and therefore sometimes not in a unifying modern gazetteer?  Having the DwC terms available for use, enables the location-related information included on a specimen label to be recorded and exchanged.  

I presume that was the basis for the inclusion of these terms in the original Darwin Core. Is this incorrect?  

I tend to agree that the problem in DwC is with the use of some particular examples of geopolitical subdivisions - stateProvince, county, municipality - rather than something generic like 1st, 2nd, 3rd Subdivision as Markus is suggesting.


-----Original Message-----
From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Gregor Hagedorn
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:25 AM
To: Markus Englund
Cc: tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] Change of DwC terms stateProvince, county, and municipality?

I think the neutral names are of limited value. They require everyone to understand the intended meaning and it is highly error prone that different collection manager will read the specifications differently.
In Germany we have states, then a next level (administrative district,
"Regierungsbezirk") hardly anyone outside of the administration would know which one the own town belongs to. Then we have the "Kreis" which is roughly equivalent to a county and fairly well recognized by most people. This has the slight catch that small cities belong to a county, whereas big cities are "county-free cities" (kreisfreie Stadt). As a result, one manager would map "Regierungsbezirk" to second level, others the "Kreis", others will put the "circuit-free city" in second level, others will leave it empty and put the county-free city in third, to have all cities in the same field...

One of the big advantages of computers is, in my eyes, that they can easily handle (at least) simple synonymy. With the advent of the Semantic Web this promise has become even more realistic.

Providing a set of semantically well defined and well labeled names, some of which are applicable only to some countries, and leave it to software and a configuration thereof to figure out which mapping is most appropriate for which use case, would be my preference over the mapping pre-defined and just numbered by level in the hierarchy.

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