[tdwg-content] AC Comment: terms for phylocode and DNA barcode

Steve Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Mon Mar 25 15:33:56 CET 2013

Rob Stevenson made another helpful comment with regards to the proposed 
Audubon Core standard:

"Rather than have Term Name: associatedSpecimenReference as a place for 
phylocode and a DNA barcode, should the standard support specific fields 
for a phylocode and a DNA barcode?  These seem to be independent 
approaches that might help anchor or tie together multimedia 
observations.  I can image people taking a picture of an insect and 
getting a DNA barcode but not having a Taxon Name or a set of characters 
completed. It seems that molecular data are becoming more and more 
important and their collection is becoming more and more automated.  For 
microbes, molecular characterization seems to be the main approach uses".

I have not opened an issue for this item because although it is an 
important issue, I'm not sure it is in scope for Audubon Core.  AC 
imports terms from other vocabularies when possible (notably Darwin 
Core), but generally only mints terms when they deal specifically with 
multimedia and when existing vocabularies don't already provide such a 
term.  The issue that Rob raises is a general one that needs to be 
discussed in the context of how vocabularies such as Darwin Core (which 
are currently designed primarily to facilitate "flat", specimen-oriented 
databases) can be adapted for use in more normalized databases which 
integrate information about many kinds of resources (e.g. specimens, DNA 
sequences, images, etc. ).  This is a topic that is the subject of 
ongoing discussions with groups such as BiSciCol, RCN4GSC, and the TDWG 
RDF task group.  But it may be too much for Audubon Core to take on at 
this point in time. 


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

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