Taxon debate synthesis?
Ricardo Scachetti Pereira
ricardo at TDWG.ORG
Thu Nov 17 10:07:25 CET 2005
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 need
to figure out which GUID system you use to resolve it, you just resolve
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 and
observation data, which in turn can be resolved using the same architecture.
Second, I tend to think that such a system will work better if the
assigning authorities are descentralized, i.e. agents are free to assign
GUIDs to anything.
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 is
how you cross link them and maybe more importantly, how the community
uses the objects you issued GUIDs for (again this relates to cross
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
Regarding your comment that computers can't handle metadata, I think
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).
Kennedy, Jessie wrote:
>Another quick reply re this thread...
>One GUID system for Name Usages - why stop there - why not one GUID
>system for anything? We are drawing arbitrary lines in trying to scope
>what should or should not be encompassed in this GUID system.
>Why are we doing this? I would say to make it easier to use and refer to
>taxon names, concepts, observations, general usages etc. consistently so
>that the biologists can do better science. So what do biologists need to
>know - the main thing (IMO) is what they are talking about so that when
>they communicate electronically references are more meaningful/accurate.
>I would've thought that they would want to know that if they get a GUID
>for a concept then they aren't using a name or vice versa.
>One GUID system I think will encourage people to duplicate effort and
>publish GUIDs for the sake of showing they've done something because
>that's the easy bit. We should encourage one GUID for one thing be that
>a concept or name or whatever rather than a GUID for every
>representation of every electronic version of a record representing one
>thing (I know this will be hard but we should work towards that
>otherwise we're wasting people's time and money)
>I agree from an implementation point of view one GUID system is easier
>but from a user of the system I'm not so convinced or form an
>implementer of a system trying to deal with all of the different types
>of things you might get returned when all you want are names or
>Am I right in thinking that the proposal means that all of the data for
>taxon names or concepts or observations or whatever might be construed
>as name usages will be described as meta-data for each GUID?
>To me this meta-data is what we've been describing as data when
>I agree GUIDs aren't interesting in themselves but I'm not convinced
>that computers can handle meta-data.....of the complexity we'd need to
>model names, concepts, observations etc. I'd be interested in seeing
>evidence of this - again I could be wrong......
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