[tdwg-content] A radical proposal for Darwin Core

John Deck jdeck at berkeley.edu
Mon Jun 24 22:04:39 CEST 2013

While i agree that house cleaning is in order, I think it would be a big
mistake to accept no new additions to the standard in the interim.

Perhaps a strategy is to shoot for a "major release" version (say with a
target 1 year out) while continuing with current modifications to the
existing standard.


On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 3:45 PM, joel sachs <jsachs at csee.umbc.edu> wrote:

> Hi Everyone,
> Darwin Core remains poorly documented, occasionally inconsistent, and
> frequently misunderstood. (Does anyone disagree with that
> characterization?) I believe this is one of the reasons we're seeing a
> proliferation of overlapping and sometimes incompatible ontologies
> building on Darwin Core terms.
> One of the suggestions that came up on the TDWG-RDF mailing list is to
> have a clean-up-a-thon/document-a-thon for TDWG namespaces and terms. I
> suggest that, until such a clean up of Darwin Core occurs, TDWG accept no
> additions to the Darwin Core standard. There are several examples in
> support of my claim that we're building on a shaky foundation - an obvious
> one is that, as Steve is currently pointing out, there is no consensus on
> what constitutes a Darwin Core occurrence. (Can anyone name an instance of
> the class "http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/Occurrence"?)
> The clean-up-a-thon proposal was enthusiastically endorsed within the RDF
> group, but no one volunteered to organize it. I propose that we
> self-organize, and find a way to carve out two days at the coming meeting
> to hash out as much as we can, with a follow-on workshop if necessary. But
> first, I'd be interested to know - am I the only one who feels this way?
> Sincerely,
> Joel.
> p.s.
> I've said this before, but it bears repeating - Darwin Core is almost an
> excellent standard, and almost ideally suited to be the foundation for a
> semantic web for biodiversity informatics. I have great respect for those
> who were involved in its creation and continued curation - for their hard
> work, and clear thinking, and patience for people like me struggling to
> understand. But all that work, thought, and patience will be for naught,
> if the gyre is allowed to widen much further.
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John Deck
(541) 321-0689
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