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

Paul J. Morris mole at morris.net
Wed Jan 21 21:32:06 CET 2015

On Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:03:44 -0600
Steve Baskauf <steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu> wrote:
> I'm not sure that I get the distinction between "deprecated" and 
> "obsolete".  Can't all terms just be either currently recommended or 
> deprecated?  Terms should never go away in the RDF, they should be 
> marked as deprecated.

The usual sense I take from these is that deprecated means some feature
will still work, but that it is planned that support for it will be
removed for it in a future release, things will work if you use it now,
but you should be removing it from any production systems as it will
stop working in the future.  On the other hand obsolete means that
support for it has allready been removed, and use of the feature is
expected to cause failures in up to date production systems.  Typical
sense is in an API, where some function can be annotated as deprecated
in one release and then removed from the API in some subsequent

In open world systems, the terms do indeed not go away, however, an
application that consumes or generates documents using an RDF
vocabulary can break as terms are obsoleted and removed from that
vocabulary, and annotating terms as deprecated signals developers of
generating and consuming applications of places where they will need to
make preparations for future changes.   

I would expect a deprecated term to exist in a current version of a
vocabulary (with an annotation marking it as such), I would only expect
an obsolete term to exist in historical versions of the vocabulary and
in a history document, not in the current vocabulary.   

For RDF in the wild, it's open world, and a prudent developer would
expect obsolte terms to exist in RDF documents. 

Paul J. Morris
Biodiversity Informatics Manager
Harvard University Herbaria/Museum of Comparative Zoölogy
mole at morris.net  AA3SD  PGP public key available

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