[Tdwg-guid] Jena examples?

Roger Hyam roger at tdwg.org
Tue Sep 26 10:49:03 CEST 2006

Hi Everyone,

In the not very comforting words of software vendors these are "known 
issues" and will be resolved in the next release ;)

But seriously.The namespaces in the TCS names vocabulary do not resolve 
because we didn't have a policy at that time. The use if entity 
references was 'borrowed' from an example (probably Protege output) and 
I wouldn't mind doing away with it.

I have been thinking long and hard about the namespace issues in the 
last few weeks and believe I have a solution that I will propose at TDWG 
St Louis. It would be good to have face to face discussions about it and 
make a decision there.

To briefly summarize: The issue is getting a namespace convention that 
will work across technologies. Suppose we want to serve data in a 
technology that "isn't very good at namespaces". As an example - if we 
were to have separate namespaces for TaxonNames, TaxonConcepts, 
Specimens, Metadata, GeospatialStuff, Collections and we wanted to 
validate a document using XML Schema that contained all these things it 
would require 6 independent schemas each with it's own target namespace. 
If you have ever tried to debug something like this you will know what 
total madness it is. We can't just abandon XML Schema because it would 
rule out not only our existing technologies but GML and probably 
others... It may also be desirable to express our ontology in things 
that aren't even XML.

The only solution I can think is that for the TDWG Ontology we should 
have a single formal namespace of: http://rs.tdwg.org/ontology/

Within the ontology we have a convention for concepts that goes like this.

A class would be: http://rs.tdwg.org/ontology/tdwg123_MyClass

where 123 is the internal id of the class and MyClass is the class name

A property in MyClass would be: 

where 123 is the *class* id not the property id and myProperty is the 
property name.

An instance would be http://rs.tdwg.org/ontology/tdwg123_789

where 123 is the *class* id and 789 is the instance id (there is nothing 
stable about an instance that we could use as an identifier unless we 
force a label property and make it immutable).

In a way this is using the part before the _ as a pseudo namespace.

I think this hits the balance between something that is technology 
independent and something that will produce reasonably human readable 

It is radical which is why I thought it would be good to talk about it.

Any one got an alternative?

We have to have a solution for this by the end of the St Louis meeting 
as it is critical path for ontology work.

Most grateful for you patience and any thoughts you have.


Sally Hinchcliffe wrote:
> Hi Steve /all
> We took that syntax straight from Roger's RDF/TCS examples. I think 
> Roger was going to do more work on tidying up those sorts of loose 
> ends. I have to admit that my knowledge of RDF and particularly RDFS 
> is pretty superficial
> We can switch to either the shorter format or the safer fully 
> qualified URI - what do people think would be better?
> Sally
>> By the way, the IPNI example you cite has an error:
>> <tn:nomenclaturalCode rdf:resource="&tn;#botanical" />
>> Many RDF/XML parsers will see &tn; as an entity which cannot be 
>> resolved.  Since I don't have a copy of the ontology (and 
>> http://tdwg.org/2006/03/12/TaxonNames does not resolve), I can only take 
>> a guess that it should look something like:
>> <tn:nomenclaturalCode rdf:resource="tn:botanical" />
>> However, using XML namespace prefixes in resource references inside 
>> RDF/XML documents tends to cause problems because not all RDF/XML 
>> parsers are smart enough to dereference the namespace prefix and build a 
>> fully-qualified resource URI.  A safer form of the above would be the 
>> fully qualified resource URI which looks like:
>> <tn:nomenclaturalCode rdf:resource="http://tdwg.org/2006/03/12/TaxonNames/botanical" />
>> -Steve
> *** Sally Hinchcliffe
> *** Computer section, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
> *** tel: +44 (0)20 8332 5708
> *** S.Hinchcliffe at rbgkew.org.uk
> _______________________________________________
> TDWG-GUID mailing list
> TDWG-GUID at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/tdwg-guid


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

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