[tdwg-tag] RE: tdwg-tag Digest, Vol 22, Issue 1

Eamonn O Tuama eotuama at gbif.org
Wed Oct 10 09:43:52 CEST 2007

Can't we keep the model simple and mandate that we are offering a faceted
classification, similar to a general tagging system like folksonomies?  So a
particular InfoItem might have content which pertains to both genetics and
ecology and when tagged with those two categories, the only inference that
can be drawn is that the content is relevant to both.  In a search, that
InfoItem would be returned for either of those categories, but is also very
likely to be appropriate to someone interested in "ecological genetics" who
would search on the categories "ecology + genetics" or vice versa.

I think an aggregator could do either of the following:
1) list an InfoItem under each of its categories - so it will appear
multiple times
2) list InfoItems just once under concatenated categories (e.g.,

In either case, I find it hard to see how anything useful can be derived
from such aggregations without human interpretation, e.g., someone preparing
a species page for EOL might harvest multiple InfoItems and arrange/edit
them as appropriate. Just being able to harvest data through the SPM is
surely helpful. In certain cases, where the domain might be restricted (an
invasive species group), the community may achieve more automated
aggregation by agreeing on how to use certain categories, e.g.,  I can see
benefit in being able to list multiple distributions of a particular species
one after the other, especially if biologists are tracking this over time
and the information is being continually updated.


-----Original Message-----
From: Gregor Hagedorn [mailto:g.m.hagedorn at gmail.com] 
Sent: 09 October 2007 17:49
To: Eamonn O Tuama
Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] RE: tdwg-tag Digest, Vol 22, Issue 1

> I can see that it will be very difficult to come up with a set of
> hierarchical terms that everyone will agree with. The subclassing
> unless we restrict it to one level (all classes are direct children of
> InfoItem) is thus problematic. Is it possible to simply assign multiple
> categories to an InfoItem? Something like the following statement -
> This InfoItem has category "dispersal" and has category "asexual
> reproduction".

I wonder whether allowing multiple class or topic-categories is a good
idea. It would allow a wealth of expressiveness, but it may be very
difficult to interpret. Are "biology + reproduction" or morphology +
reproduction" a subclass or intersection statement? By external
knowledge I would assume the first is generalization, the second
intersection, but this would be difficult to know. "Ecology +
genetics" could be either aspects of both mixed, or precisely
ecological genetics.

Also: would the order be significant or not? Is "ecology + genetics"
different from "genetics + ecology"?

I wonder whether multiple topics per infoitem would not forfeit the
purpose of SPM in relation to taxon page creation. It is unclear to me
how in practice aggregators would deal with this.


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