[tdwg-tag] darwin core terms inside tdwg ontology

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Mon Apr 27 16:22:14 CEST 2009


I agree with you and Stan that the ontology is useful to all schemas.
It seems to me that a "TDWG Ontology" is a totally new and different
kind of thing than all the data exchange standards of the prior 10 years
- DwC, SDD, TCS, etc.  But, it is a very useful and important new kind
of thing that should be part of the TDWG standards architecture. It
challenges prior thinking about the nature of TDWG standards to grasp
what standardizing on an ontology means.  But, I think it's what is


If TDWG standardized on one Ontology, then the vocabulary of all data
exchange could be standardized on it.  Then all TDWG standards could be
revised over time to comply to that vocabulary standard, including DwC.


Stan said: " I'd like to hear the rationale for combining taxonomic
name/concept with organism occurrence." An occurrence record generally
has an organism's name associated with it in the real world. It is
necessary and inevitable that vocabulary about organism names will be
used in an occurrence data exchange schema like DwC. We have been
stymied with this idea for years. A standard Ontology/vocabulary for the
elements of name information needed to be associated with an occurrence,
or a description, or a taxon concept would go a long way toward solving
this duality.  The "standard vocabulary" would not be standardized
within DwC but it would be used in DwC.


Of course there is the problem of the hundreds of installations of DiGIR
that use DwC "classic" and are no doubt not going to change for a long
time.  I think they just have to be accepted and worked around going
forward.  It's impractical to think of anything else.  But, the past
should not roadblock the future and we need to get moving toward that


Stan thinks that the Ontology is not appropriate for TDWG ratification.
Why not?  Change has to start somewhere. Yes, other standards would
probably be in conflict if the Ontology were ratified, but I think we
want to ultimately have consistency across all the standards and that
means there has to be change going forward.  I think a ratified TDWG
Ontology would provide the foundation upon which to start building those




From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org
[mailto:tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Kevin Richards
Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2009 2:53 AM
To: Blum, Stan; Technical Architecture Group mailinglist; exec at tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] darwin core terms inside tdwg ontology


I see the ontology as a model of ALL (hopefully, eventually all) the
data in our domain of biodiversity informatics.  

I would love to see it as a standard (at the least it might give it a
bit more clout).

I agree that the ontology is useful to tie other TDWG schemas together,
using it as a core/master model.  I would be happy to see it used for
ALL tasks within TDWG, but I understand the usefulnes of the more
specific schemas/standards - horses for courses.


If I understand Stan here, I agree with him about the dubious use of DwC
for representing Taxon Concepts/Names.  As far as I know, it was really
intended as a transfer standard for observation records??  It contains
very limited taxon information!  It really is not a overly difficult job
to use a more suitable schema/ontology.  I think the popularity of
Darwin Core is due to its simplicity - and I wonder if what Roger is
proposing will help with this - ie an XML implementation of the ontology
as well as an RDF version.  This will allow people to create very simple
XML documents with reasonably simple/flat data, eg an xml document of
TaxonName entities, with perhaps 6 or 7 or so key fields - even simpler
than DwC.   :-)





From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org]
On Behalf Of Blum, Stan [sblum at calacademy.org]
Sent: Saturday, 25 April 2009 6:12 a.m.
To: Technical Architecture Group mailing list; exec at tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] darwin core terms inside tdwg ontology

From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org on behalf of John R. WIECZOREK
Sent: Fri 2009-04-24 8:58 AM
To: Roger Hyam
Cc: Technical Architecture Group mailing list
Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] darwin core terms inside tdwg ontology

Anything I should do on the DwC side in anticipation of harmony?





At some point, all or (most) of the DarwinCore terms need to be added to
the TDWG ontology.


But having said that, I also need to say that I'm uncomfortable with:


1) The current state of the TDWG ontology (primarily the naming
conventions; lets just use terms names), and our understanding of the
role it plays in TDWG and how it will be managed (entry of terms,
integration of terms into the conceptual [is-a / has-a] relationships to
other terms); and


2) the fact that the new DarwinCore straddles or overlaps the roles of
an ontology and an application schema.


I understood the past TAG roadmaps to indicate that we were adopting an
approach in which the TDWG Ontology would be a repository for data
concepts that are present in (or implied by) TDWG standards; and that
real data transmission would be accomplished with application schemas.
The ontology itself would not be a standard, but would be a tool that
helps integrate standards.  I thought our standards would be created to
function as application schemas or components of application schemas (as
in the DwC and its extensions).  I am now pretty confused.  I'd like to
hear the rationale for combining taxonomic name/concept with organism
occurrence.  I haven't gone over all the existing docs, so apologies if
I've missed that, but I think it's confusing that a (new) DarwinCore
record could be either a taxonomic name or an organism occurrence, or
maybe something else.  Maybe I'm too attached to object orientation and
just don't GET the semantic web, but it feels to me like we are stepping
into squishy ground.


Also, I the the DCMI maintenance procedures are also more appropriately
applied to the ontology than a TDWG standard.  The existing process for
ratifying TDWG standards and the procedure in the DwC seem to be pretty
explicitly in conflict; one can change the other cannot (without
becoming another thing).


Is anyone else having these same trepidations?  I don't think I've been
as much of a Rip Van Winkle as Jim Croft, but I clearly missed some
important shifts.  








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