Taxon debate synthesis?

Kennedy, Jessie J.Kennedy at NAPIER.AC.UK
Thu Nov 17 12:44:51 CET 2005

Hi Ricardo

>     I think we should really have one GUID system for anything.
>     For one, a single GUID system will favor integration within and
> across domains. For example, if you get a GUID somewhere, you don't
> to figure out which GUID system you use to resolve it, you just
> it within the one GUID system and get metadata describing the object.
> Can be a taxon concept, which can have GUIDs linking it to specimens
> observation data, which in turn can be resolved using the same
> architecture.

I agree this is easier for us to implement - I think I mentioned that
but I don't think that's always the right reason for doing something.

>     Second, I tend to think that such a system will work better if the
> assigning authorities are descentralized, i.e. agents are free to
> GUIDs to anything.

The only issue here - and I don't think there is an easy answer - is the
trade off between easy issuing of GUIDs and difficulty of knowing what
you get back from them, what you can do with them and which GUIDs are of
real value....I guess what you're saying is let the users decide that
even if they don't really know what the issues are. I'd like to for
example decide that if IPNI issue TaxonNames GUIDs then I can decide
wholesale to accept that they've done a good job and know they are
names, know they are not concepts, know what I will get and therefore
what I can do with them - I don't really want to have to figure that out
somehow at run-time.
>     What controls the caos in this case are the metadata services. You
> can issue GUIDs right and left, but then what will add value to them
> how you cross link them and maybe more importantly, how the community
> uses the objects you issued GUIDs for (again this relates to cross
> linking objects).

I can understand this to some extent but (possibly because of my
ignorance) can't quite see how this will work. I'm a little confused
about what say IPNI or TROPICOS would do here - I'm imagining they would
issues GUIDs for what they have in their would this
work and how and who would cross link their GUIDs. What would they issue
GUIDs for? How would we refer to their concepts or names? What would we
get returned I'm not sure from this proposal.
TCS relies on lots of cross linking but all of the cross linking for one
concept is encapsulated within the one concept (and thereby GUID).  So
for example we differentiate between relationships which were mentioned
in the definition of that concept between the concept and other
concepts, and relationships by others regarding that concept which are
opinions of others and not part of the definition of the concept as
defined. How would we do that?
>     Third, if you want, you still can have a centralized metadata
> service that works like an authority saying which taxon GUIDs are
> important.
>     I just don't think you can enforce data correctness at the issuing
> authority level.

Yes if I was clear about what I was getting if I resolved a taxon GUID.
I'm still not entirely clear what we're getting back.  
I agree you can't enforce correctness at the issuing authority level but
I think you can set up agreements as to what your protocol for
publishing is and what you will do with your objects that you have
assigned GUIDs to etc.

Can anyone tell me come to think about it what we are planning on
providing here? If anyone can issue GUIDs (I guess using their own GUID
server) for any taxon thing - or really anything that anybody wants to
consider a taxon thing. What "extra" value are we talking about

>     Regarding your comment that computers can't handle metadata, I
> we need to explore that a little bit more with examples. Could some of
> us in the group present more concrete examples on how something like
> that would be done? I think that if we define one or more ontologies
> (i.e. a classification scheme for things getting GUIDs) computers can
> than say: I know what the class this object belongs to, it's a
> NameUsage, or a TissueFromSpecimen, and act upon it. If the system
> doesn't know what kind of object that is, it can just ignore it or try
> to render it using a xslt stylesheet that can be used to displays that
> content to the user (if that's available).
I guess what I was trying to get at here is - does the metadata tell me
what kind of object I'm getting or does it contain the data (or at least
some of the data) that I've been thinking is the values for the concept.
I'm confused about that after reading some of the posts. 

I don't want to stop us progressing but I want to be sure that where
we're going is going to add some value to what is out there already.



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