[tdwg-content] Darwin Core Standard - proposed change in governance

Éamonn Ó Tuama [GBIF] eotuama at gbif.org
Wed Jan 21 09:03:13 CET 2015

I am in favour of this. Having a single normative document in RDF (which could include terms with a “deprecated status”) should greatly ease the management of DwC.



From: tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-content-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of John Wieczorek
Sent: 20 January 2015 16:19
To: TDWG Content Mailing List
Subject: [tdwg-content] Darwin Core Standard - proposed change in governance


Dear all,

Peter Desmet, Markus Döring, and I have been working on the transition of Darwin Core maintenance from the Google Code Site to Github. We've taken the opportunity to streamline the process of making updates to the standard when they are ratified, such as scripts to produce the human-readable content and auxiliary files from the RDF document of current terms. As a result of this work, we see further opportunities to simplify the maintenance of the standard. They center on the following proposal.

We would like to propose that the RDF document of current terms be made to represent the normative standard for Darwin Core rather than Complete History normative document we use now. We would also like to make that new normative document the only document in the standard. 

Under this proposal:

1) the normative standard for Darwin Core would consist of a single document at http://rs.tdwg.org/terms/dwc_normative.rdf (not currently active).

2) information currently held in  <http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/rdf/dwctermshistory.rdf> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/rdf/dwctermshistory.rdf (the current normative document) and the corresponding Complete History web page (http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/history/index.htm) would be retained only in a history document http://rs.tdwg.org/terms/history.html (not currently active).


3) all documents other than the proposed normative document would not be part of the standard.


The proposed changes require community consensus under the existing rules of governance of the Darwin Core. This means that the proposal must be under public review for at least 30 days after an apparent consensus on the proposal and any amendments to it is reached, where consensus consists of no publicly-shared opposition.


The implications of this proposal are many. One of the most important is that the rules governing changes to the standard (http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/namespace/index.htm) would no longer be a part of the standard. Instead, we would promote the adoption of these rules across TDWG standards rather than just within Darwin Core. It may be that TDWG is not ready to accommodate this at the moment. If so, the Namespace Policy could remain within the Darwin Core standard until the broader governance process for TDWG can cover it, at which point we would propose to remove the Namespace Policy from the Darwin Core.


Other comments about the proposed changes:


Having one RDF document for the terms in the dwc namespace will avoid confusion. Only those with status 'recommended' would be in the normative document.


Having the term history (all versions, including deprecated, superseded, and recommended ones) in a web page only is what Dublin Core does. It means no one would be able to reason over old versions of the Darwin Core. Would anyone do that?


Having no document other than the normative one as part of the standard would free the whole rest of the body of Darwin Core documentation from the requirements of public review and Executive Committee approval. This would make that documentation much more open to broader contributions and easier to adapt to evolving demands.


We do not propose to lose any of the documentation we have.


Please share your comments!





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