[tdwg-content] Clarifying the nature of TDWG Standards document categories, was Re: A radical proposal for Darwin Core

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Wed Jul 3 22:54:51 CEST 2013


Within the last year I did confirm with John Wieczorek that the 
dwctermshistory.rdf is THE one normative document of Darwin Core.  One 
would have no way to know that other than personally asking John since I 
have never found anything in writing which states that.  The connection 
between dwctermshistory.rdf and the RDF served when the terms are 
dereferenced is a bit tenuous, but if you drill down into the term 
definitions that get served via the dwcterms.rdf document, they are 
linked to the historical terms via dcterms:hasVersion and 
dcterms:replaces properties although I'm not sure I can explain how a 
semantic client would follow its nose to the dwctermshistory.rdf 
document.  I don't know what went into the decision to set DwC up this 
way since it was before my time.  John W. may have further comments.

In a previous email which I'm not going to attempt to look up in the 
archives, I asked (begged?) that the Darwin Core RDF documents be 
clearly marked as to whether they were normative or not because I've 
been confused about this exact thing for several years.  I was thinking 
that the recommendations of the VoMaG draft report on vocabulary 
management included clearly demarcating which document is normative in a 
standard, but I just looked at the report again 
(http://community.gbif.org/pg/file/read/34059/ ) and didn't see it.  The 
section 4.3 Recommendation 5 says "As part of its documentation, a 
vocabulary must include machine readable metadata expressed, e.g., in 
RDF, that describe the main characteristics of the vocabulary."  Perhaps 
this recommendation should be amended to say that one particular 
characteristic to be described is the identity of the type 1 (normative) 
document for the vocabulary if it is a standard.  Since the VoMaG report 
is in the middle of its public comment period, this would be an 
excellent comment to make.  I'm not going to make it since I'm one of 
the authors, but anybody else could.


joel sachs wrote:
> On Mon, 1 Jul 2013, Steve Baskauf wrote:
> <snip>
>> To illustrate this with Darwin Core, the single normative (Type 1) 
>> RDF document is 
>> http://code.google.com/p/darwincore/source/browse/trunk/rdf/dwctermshistory.rdf 
> </snip>
> Steve,
> Are you sure that that document is *the* normative Darwin Core? Consider:
> i. It is not included in the Download from the Darwin Core Cover Page, 
> http://www.tdwg.org/standards/450/
> (I admit that this is weak evidence, since every document that is 
> included in the download is outdated. So whatever the normative 
> standard is, it's not included in the Download from the Darwin Core 
> Cover Page - strange but true.)
> ii. It does not define any Darwin Core terms. For example, the 
> document defines
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/dwctype/PreservedSpecimen-2008-11-19
> and
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/dwctype/PreservedSpecimen-2011-10-16
> but not
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/dwctype/PreservedSpecimen
> I always assumed that the normative standard was defined by
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/rdf/dwcterms.rdf and 
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/rdf/dwctype.rdf,
> and (perhaps)
> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/ and http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/dwctype/
> Could someone please clarify?
> Many thanks,
> Joel.

Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences

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