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

Bob Morris ram at cs.umb.edu
Mon Mar 6 15:52:40 CET 2006

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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