[tdwg-tag] TDWG ontology revisited ... a newcomer's perspective

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Fri May 15 00:39:30 CEST 2009

If you had a 'container' called species concept what would you put in it so that computers, let alone other people, knew what you meant?
In the real world we have collections of real (individual or groups of) organisms which we put in a container and label the container with a name for that species. Others can look in this container, examine the real objects and either agree that all the object belong to a single species concept or split the objects into two or more groups and assign different names to the new species concepts. The reverse can occur where two containers are merged and then the Codes give guidance of which of the two names is the correct one.
Creating identifiers for the species concepts solves nothing if we do not know how a concept is defined.


From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org on behalf of Peter DeVries
Sent: Thu 14/05/2009 23:00
To: Kevin Richards
Cc: tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org; lynette.woodburn at csiro.au
Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] TDWG ontology revisited ... a newcomer's perspective

I think that the effort to organize information about species has been moving so slowly in part because of it's focus on names. Our goal is to organize information about species, names are just the handle that we use to tag a species.

The efforts would go much more quickly if we create identifiers for species concepts and then point the various names to that identifier.

I did a check via Google Scholar for papers published this year that mention the Puma concolor, and Felis concolor.

Both of these names for the same species are still being used.

It would make sense to mint global URI for that species concept and then tag all papers, images, observations to that species concept.

As these documents are being processed, more and more information will be tied to that identifier.

Identifiers for "good" species could be created quickly. New observations could start to be tagged with that identifier along with whatever name the recorder would like to use. e.g. Aedes/Ochlerotatus

These concepts could be mapped to the GNI data in the following way

http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/3165624 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/3165624> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/505310 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/505310> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/10330292 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/10330292> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/6689244 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/6689244> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/3169574 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/3169574> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/10568463 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/10568463> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/12104361 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/12104361> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/1758834 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/1758834> 
http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p <http://www.taxonconcept.org/spcs/v6n7p>   hasNameID  http://globalnames.org/name_strings/11818218 <http://globalnames.org/name_strings/11818218> 

I have not had much success getting this idea accepted in a number of these communities.

So I have a proposal. Let my group start making species concept identifiers. If this concept is adopted, I have succeeded in proving my point. If this concept fails, then I am wrong. Either way, we should have an answer by the end of the decade.


- Pete

P.S. This is not about changing the system of binomial nomenclature, it is about tying data together so we can start to address the world's problems in a efficient manner. Binomial nomenclature stays. ;-)
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