[Tdwg-tag] Why should data providers supply search and query services?

Donald Hobern dhobern at gbif.org
Mon Mar 6 16:22:08 CET 2006

I would also like to emphasise that I would be unhappy to see the TDWG
architecture restricted to what GBIF needs (or perhaps what GBIF knows it
needs today).  I would far rather see TDWG as the developer of a robust
information architecture which can support a wide range of applications now
and does not depend on any particular piece of infrastructure being provided
indefinitely by GBIF or any other party.

Donald Hobern (dhobern at gbif.org)
Programme Officer for Data Access and Database Interoperability 
Global Biodiversity Information Facility Secretariat 
Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel: +45-35321483   Mobile: +45-28751483   Fax: +45-35321480

-----Original Message-----
From: Tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org
[mailto:Tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Bob Morris
Sent: 06 March 2006 15:53
To: roger at tdwg.org
Cc: Bob Morris; ""Döring, "@gerula.gbif.org; Guentsch, Anton;
Tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [Tdwg-tag] Why should data providers supply search and query

Roger wrote:

> [...]
> We are building a global system so we have to be able to reconcile 
> different encodings of the same object types.
Bob Morris replies:

I don't see anything in the TDWG Constitution that calls for a "global 
system". Any discussion of system building surely represents an 
interpretation of Article 1, in which the only explicit activity 
mentioned is that TDWG  "develops, adopts and promotes standards and 
guidelines for the recording and exchange of data about organisms". 
Whether building systems at all is within the purview of TDWG,  is 
probably beyond the mandate of the Secretariat to determine. If 
standards building is the focus instead of systems building, it does not 
follow logically that encodings have to be reconciled. I don't think 
standards bodies are obliged to make their standards reconciled with 
other people's standards. Doing so could only fall within Article 1.b, 
in which TDWG "promotes [the standards'] use through the most 
appropriate and effective means." That is so vague as to not consistute 
a requirement, and so addressing it with architecture probably needs 
more agreement in the organization about what it really means.

I share with Javier a concern that the architecture discussions may be 
conflating TDWG with GBIF. I am not necesarily opposed to this, and I 
even suspect Article 1 may in fact need revision.  I just doubt that, if 
conflation with the goals of GBIF is inadvertantly happening, it is 
happening without consent of the membership.


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Robert A. Morris
Professor of Computer Science
ram at cs.umb.edu
phone (+1)617 287 6466

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