[tdwg-content] New Darwin Core terms proposed relating to material samples

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Sat Jun 1 01:50:01 CEST 2013


I would also like to see this conversation continue, although like you, 
I'm not sure about the venue and strategy.  I suspect that we are close 
to saturating the tdwg-content email list - at a certain level of 
traffic, some subscribers start to zone out.  I think this discussion 
would be appropriate on the RDF Task Group (technically RDF/OWL Task 
Group) email list, although ontology development doesn't have to be done 
in OWL and data models don't have to be expressed as RDF.  It's my 
understanding that the RDF TG has been charged with "examining the 
implications of adding new classes to the Darwin Core Type Vocabulary in 
the broader context of clarification of the relationships among classes 
in the biodiversity realm" (see Background at 
http://code.google.com/p/tdwg-rdf/ ), which sounds a lot like just what 
we've been talking about.  

The RDF TG has a functioning Wiki and email infrastructure as well as 
Subversion capabilities and a couple RDF sandboxes for testing.  Also, a 
subset of the TG members/subscribers (not including me) are OBO 
Ontology/BioPortal savy.  The disadvantage of moving the discussion to 
the RDF TG email list is that it might exclude people with data modeling 
experience who are on tdwg-content, but not on the RDF TG email list 
(but anyone who is interested can be added to the email list). 

Alternatively, the discussion could just continue here...

Richard Pyle wrote:
> OK, I think this is an extremely important point.  So, I guess the question
> is: which should we focus on?  Data model, or ontology?  The obvious answer
> is "Both".  However, if it is "Both", then the historical trend is that one
> class of people tend to converge around the ontology, and another class of
> people tend to converge around the data model (both classes being subclasses
> of the superclass "biodiversityDataNerd") -- which is sort of the
> predicament we're in right now.  My earlier comment about moving the center
> of mass of the discussion was an effort to build some bridges between these
> two currently largely non-connected) conversations.
> I have a lot of experience thinking about data models, and a lot to
> contribute on that topic.  I have very little experience thinking about
> ontologies, and very little to contribute on that topic (my definition of
> "ontology" is the one Roger Hyam showed at TDWG a few years ago: "Ontology:
> blah blah blah").  But I also recognize the strong need for these groups to
> co-mingle more than they have been.  We definitely need an ontology to allow
> reasoning across the information stored in our data models; but it's not
> unusual for me to see pieces of biodiversity ontologies that could have
> benefitted from some better insight on how the biodiversity data are modeled
> (though this may have been limited to early biodiversity ontology efforts --
> I haven't kept up lately).
> All of this rambling to ask: What do we do next?  Do we need to stop talking
> about DWC and start talking about..... what?  Data Modeling? Ontology? Both?
> Separately? Concurrently?  On this list? On a Wiki somewhere...?  I really
> have no idea or opinion about where we go from here -- as long as it's not
> the same old circular conversation (also, I'd rather it not be "nowhere").
> Aloha,
> Rich
> .

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

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