[Tdwg-tag] Meaning of 'concept'

Roger Hyam roger at tdwg.org
Mon May 1 17:46:25 CEST 2006

Hi All,

Gregor and I are having a discussion over what 'concept' means.

Gregor said: Roger, I suggest, you replace unqualified "concept" with
something that qualifies what kind of concept you mean. If I read concept I
think of a taxon concept or descriptive concept (flower, color, blue,
frequently) but not of the kind of concepts you mean (I would say "data
elements" for these, but I leave it to you. This was the source of the major
misunderstanding about Management system and data. Note that both taxon and
descriptive concepts have and need ontology information, even if not
expressed in RDF - so just saying "ontology concepts" would not be very
clear I believe.

I know TAPIR and BioCASE use concepts to mean element or attribute and
believe DwC do as well. I thought I was on clear ground here in using it in
the context of ontologies.

What word other than 'concept' can I use to describe a thing in an ontology
i.e. a class, property, attribute whatever.

Any suggestions,


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