RDF/architecture/ontology - migration

Roger Hyam roger at TDWG.ORG
Fri Nov 18 10:39:39 CET 2005

This is carrying on from Steve's comments under the "Taxon debate
synthesis?" thread. I started a new thread as it seemed to be getting a
little deep and no longer fitting the title.

Steve's comments are hitting the nail right on the head. From the
conversations and thoughts I am having about architecture of TDWG
standards all roads are leading to RDF - which is annoying because it
makes writing balanced documents that compare the alternatives difficult :)

Steve outlined one of the most promising  paths forward for TDWG
standards. Taking this route is not a matter of just saying "lets do it
all in RDF" there would be a long way to go if we went this way - but at
least we would be doing things the same way the rest of the semantic web
world and that means there are tools and people out there to help.

The one point Steve didn't stress is that RDF is the "bees knees" for
data handshaking - i.e. combining data from different domains. This
means that the extensibility and version problems that are our main
hurdles as the moment will tend to go away. But have no fear there will
be other problems to replace them.

I am comfortable talking about GUIDs in terms of moving towards
representing TDWG data in RDF. It certainly makes more sense of the GUID
discussions to me. But...

What we need to bear in mind is that there is a great deal of knowledge
captured in  XML Schema within the TDWG community and that knowledge (or
at least the good bits of it) need to be migrated forwards. People have
also invested a great deal of effort in developing XML Schemas and may
be reluctant to move on.

This is all leading to TAG stuff rather than GUID stuff but as Steve and
Rod and others point out the two are very closely connected - along with
the protocol stuff...

How much should the GUID debate assume that we are using current XML
Schema based standards and how much should it assume a move to an RDF
style approach - or doesn't it matter?



 Roger Hyam
 Technical Architect
 Taxonomic Databases Working Group
 roger at tdwg.org
 +44 1578 722782

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