[tdwg-content] Proposed changes to Darwin Core

joel sachs jsachs at csee.umbc.edu
Wed Jul 23 02:32:02 CEST 2014

Hi John,

On Tue, 22 Jul 2014, John Wieczorek wrote:

> Hi Joel,
> Is this meant to call everyone's attention to the issues?

Yes, that is the purpose of this email. My understaning of the 
process for changing the standard is that proposals are entered into the 
Issue Tracker, followed by a 30 day period of public comment, followed by 
the editor bringing the proposals to the executive for ratification. So, 
technically, tdwg-content does not need to be notified prior to 
ratification. (Is that correct?) Regardless, as much as I want to see our proposals ratified, I 
don't want it to happen under the radar, and so thought it made sense to 
inform the list.

> To elicit further
> commentary? Or to make a specific proposal for action?
> I suspect it is to put forward your positions on issue 205. If that is
> correct, I propose bringing those positions here for discussion.

I don't mind airing my positions on Issue 205, but would prefer not to 
lead off with that. My questions and suggestions regarding the proposed 
dwc:Organism class are not as important as our proposal to deprecate the 
dwctype namespace, and to remove the phrase "The category of information 
pertaining to" from the definitions of the dwc classes.


> Cheers,
> John
> On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 5:16 PM, joel sachs <jsachs at csee.umbc.edu> wrote:
>       Hi Everyone,
>       I’d like to direct everyone’s attention to issues 204 - 226 in
>       the Darwin Core issue tracker [1]. These issues describe
>       proposed changes to the Darwin Core standard, and were entered
>       back in January in follow up to the Documenting Darwin Core
>       workshop held at TDWG 2013. These proposals reflect what the
>       organizers of that workshop believe to be the consensus that was
>       reached during the workshop’s four sessions in Florence.
>       The background for this is that, for some time, a number of
>       TDWGers have been working towards an applicability statement to
>       provide guidance on expressing Darwin Core data using RDF. In
>       the course of this work, it became apparent that the semantics
>       of Darwin Core itself needed a slight re-think, in order to be
>       usable on the semantic web. The goal was to be
>       backward-compatible, i.e. to introduce and re-define terms in a
>       way that does not affect the meaning of existing Darwin Core
>       spreadsheet data, but which provides the semantic grounding
>       necessary for meaningful RDF. I think this goal has, for the
>       most part, been realized. If you have examples to the contrary,
>       please share them.
>       Steve Baskauf provides a good overview of the proposals in Issue
>       204. Of all of them, only Issue 205 (the introduction of a class
>       to represent the taxonomically homogenous units that are
>       described in Darwin Core occurrence data) was contentious,
>       primarily because we disagreed on a good name for the class.
>       (“We” refers to the ad-hoc group that worked on translating the
>       notes from the workshop into concrete proposals - John
>       Wieczorek, James Macklin, Markus Döring, Rich Pyle, Tim
>       Robertson, Bob Morris, Hilmar Lapp, Steve Baskauf, Gregor
>       Hagedorn, and myself.) I’ve mentioned my own concerns as a
>       comment on that issue.
>       There is one proposal that had the support of the group, but
>       that is not yet entered into the Issue Tracker - the deprecation
>       of dwc:basisOfRecord. The motivation for this proposal is that
>       dwc:basisOfRecord is widely misunderstood and inconsistently
>       used, coupled with the fact that GBIF currently uses
>       basisOfRecord with the semantics of the (to be proposed)
>       dwc:hasEvidence term. However, we have held back on proposing
>       "hasEvidence", as there remain some unresolved issues regarding
>       how it would be used. This will likely be left as future work,
>       perhaps to be tackled at TDWG 2014.
>       Many thanks to all who participated in the workshop, and to all
>       who take the time to review its outcomes.
>       Joel.
>       1. https://code.google.com/p/darwincore/issues/list ["ID" ->
>       "Sort Down" to see in order]
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