[tdwg-content] Clarifying the nature of TDWG Standards document categories, was Re: A radical proposal for Darwin Core
steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Mon Jul 1 18:15:17 CEST 2013
I was filing emails and re-read this one. I just wanted to clarify one
thing about the categories of standards documents. There is currently
no standard that specifies how standards should be documented. There is
a draft Standards Documentation Specification
(http://www.tdwg.org/standards/147/ viewable online at
http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/pages/tdwg-stds-spec.pdf ) but its
ratification has been stalled for about five years. The Vocabulary
Management Task Group (VoMaG) has recommended
(http://community.gbif.org/pg/file/read/34059/ Recommendation 12; please
read and comment as the public comment period is going on now!) that a
new author team be tasked with writing an updated version of this draft
standard. Nevertheless, it is the only guideline we have at the moment.
What the existing Standards Documentation Specification document says is
that standards documents fall into three categories: Type 1 (normative)
documents - which define the standard, Type 2 (non-normative) documents
- which explain and justify the standard and which ARE part of the
standard, and Type 3 (informative) documents - which provide helpful
information but which are NOT actually part of the standard itself and
therefore aren't governed by the TDWG Standards process
(http://www.tdwg.org/about-tdwg/process/ ). To illustrate this with
Darwin Core, the single normative (Type 1) RDF document is
. There are many (I think hundreds) of non-normative (Type 2) documents
that are part of the standard, notably web pages like the term Quick
Reference Guide http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/index.htm and the XML
Guide http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/guides/xml/index.htm . The pages on
the Darwin Core Google Code site (e.g.
http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/wiki/Occurrence ) are Type 3
documents. It requires an official act in accordance with the DwC
Namespace policy (http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/namespace/index.htm ) to
change a Type 2 document. Type 3 documents can be changed at any time
with no official action required.
As far as Darwin Core RDF Guide is concerned, the Guide document itself
would become a Type 2 document (non-normative) and part of the Darwin
Core Standard. Its acceptance is governed by the Standards process and
therefore requires public comment, etc. Any term additions and changes
(such as the addition of the proposed dwcuri: namespace terms) which are
accepted would be made to the Type 1 RDF document as well as to the Type
2 human-readable pages that serve as reference. The RDF examples (e.g.
http://code.google.com/p/tdwg-rdf/wiki/DwcRdfExamplesDarwinSW ) which
are not included in the actual Guide would be Type 3 documents. They
aren't governed by the Standards Process and could reside on either the
RDF Task Group Google Code wiki, the Darwin Core Google Code site, or
any other place where we might decide to put that kind of reference
document (e.g. on the GBIF site if the VoMaG group gets it set up).
I hope this clarifies the situation. There has been a lot of confusion
about this in the past.
joel sachs wrote:
> guide. But what if the release gets delayed a couple of years? Then the
> normative (Type 1) part of the standard will appear to be in conflict
> with the non-normative (Type 2) RDF examples. From a purely technical
> point of view, this isn't a problem, since Type 1 documents take
> precedence over Type 2 documents. But it's a situation we want to avoid.
Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences
postal mail address:
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