[Tdwg-tag] Technology/Approach to core Vocabulary/Ontology

Roger Hyam roger at tdwg.org
Thu Feb 23 17:11:16 CET 2006

Hi All,

I believe we agree that we need a core vocabulary/ontology and that this 
is limited in scope and under the remit of the TAG for the time being.

So my first question is: *How do we develop a core vocabulary/ontology 
in a distributed, collaborative way?*

Renato pointed out the way CIDOC is modeled which is similar (but more 
complex) to the way DublinCore is presented. Should we just start with a 
wiki page and build it from their or is there a more sophisticated tool 
we should use?

Future use cases might include linking existing schemas to the core 
ontology and developing domain specific ontologies.

My second question is: *Can we separate the definition of terms from the 
An example might make this clearer. We may be able to define TaxonName, 
GenusName and SpecificEpithet as terms and get general agreement on 
their meaning. This is separate from defining an ontology that 
stipulates TaxonName can only have a SpecificEpithet if it has a 
GenusName. One community may choose to use an ontology (or schema) to 
enforce this behaviour another might not but it doesn't change the 
meaning of the terms. DublinCore is like this. It defines a set of terms 
(as RDF properties in one form) that can be bolted together any way a 
user chooses but then the PRISM standard enforces their use in a certain 
way. Could decoupling of core terms from ontologies be a way forward?

I am willing to stick my neck out and put the first list of 
objects/terms together but we then need to discuss use cases and modify 
any initial list. I believe this will then feed into protocols and 
serializations etc..

Once again I am grateful for your thoughts,



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

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