[tdwg-content] Information about how controlled vocabularies would be handled under the draft Standards Documentation Specification

Matt Yoder diapriid at gmail.com
Sun Mar 12 22:53:18 CET 2017


Well I'm not sure if +1s are worthwhile, but I think you nicely
defined the issues.

I hope that people don't get caught up on the "preferred labels"
issue.  If it is the major issue then an ontology may be overkill
(e.g. why bother minting a URI if for all intents and practical
purposes you're going to require a unique string reference). I think
that CVs could be ontologies, or SKOS concept schemes, either should
lead to improvements, both are in theory better than simple strings.

* I'm a user who is unhappy with what is being expressed under a DC term
* I want to propose an improvement (let's call this a CV)
* I understand what I want to emphasize (e.g. precision, simplicity of
reference, ability to infer,  ability to compute, multi-lingual
support, ability to quickly amend, ability to prevent quick changes,
ability to quickly select, etc.)
* I consult a bullet point list that describes the pros/cons of using
a SKOS or an ontology
* I select one or the other formalization, and use it to propose the improvement

A simple bullet point list that specifically points out the pros/cons
of using SKOS vs. an ontology would be key in this scenario.  If I use
X I get Y,Z, if I use A I get B,C.  Where YZBC are things the user
wants to emphasize.


On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 8:50 AM, Steve Baskauf
<steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu> wrote:
> At the TDWG meeting in December, I led an informative session describing the
> main points of the draft Standards Documentation Specification (SDS) and its
> sister standard, the draft Vocabulary Management Specification.  At that
> session, some participants seem to be taken aback at the prescription by the
> SDS that controlled vocabularies should be SKOS concept schemes rather than
> ontologies.  There wasn't enough time at the meeting to fully explore that
> issue and I hoped that it would come up for further discussion during the
> public comment period.
> We are now midway through the 30 day public comment period on the SDS and so
> far, that issue has not come up.  I was recently listening to the recording
> of John Wieczorek's nice Darwin Core Hour presentation on controlled
> vocabularies and it was apparent to me that the creation of controlled
> vocabularies is an issue of interest to many in the community.  So I've
> written a blog post
> (http://baskauf.blogspot.com/2017/03/controlled-values-again.html) that
> attempts to explain in non-technical terms how the SDS specifies that
> controlled vocabularies should be expressed in machine-readable form.  For
> those who are interested in the gory details, I've also included at the end
> a more detailed explanation of the rationale for specifying that controlled
> vocabularies should, in most cases, be described as SKOS concept schemes
> rather than ontologies.
> If you care about the creation of controlled vocabularies, you should take a
> look at this post and create an official comment if there are things you
> don't like about the approach taken in the proposed specification.  Our
> review manager, Dag Endresen, has requested that issues be raised on the
> issue tracker at https://github.com/tdwg/vocab/issues .  However,
> historically back-and-forth discussion about proposed standards has also
> taken place on this list, so I think that responding here for clarification
> and discussion would be appropriate prior to submitting an official comment.
> Steve
> --
> Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
> Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences
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