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

greg whitbread ghw at anbg.gov.au
Thu May 14 15:22:53 CEST 2009

No conflating here Roger.  If we want this small scale map to be
useful,  i.e. used within the domain at any scale, it really has to be
useable.  This generally means drafting from domain requirements. Just
the must haves perhaps but informed at least by a common understanding
of what constitutes a major road. Ironically we find that enough
detail for data exchange usually requires the  larger scale map.
Smaller scales being more suited to point to point communications.

I don't really care which way we go on this. It makes sense initially
to work back from your existing lsid ontologies which are already
being implemented (here at least) and use the more accessible
interface to gather feedback and provide a platform for evolution
within a broader TDWG context.   This is not what we have done in the


> This is *NOT* what I am interested in building. A good analogy is that of a
> map. What I am interested in doing is building the a map for the major
> highways with enough detail in it to enable *machines* (not humans) to do
> sensible stuff with the data so as to facilitates our understanding of
> biodiversity. There should only be enough detail in the map to make data
> exchange work.
> It may be worthwhile building a big, detailed ontology/map of
> the biodiversity domain for human consumption and this should inform the
> machine readable map but I think there is a big danger of conflating (great
> word) the two. This is what we have done in the past.
> Anyone want to volunteer to run a wiki that describes the biodiversity
> informatics domain? This would be a great resource.
> All the best,
> Roger
>  For two reasons:
> 1) It gets us precisely nowhere.
> On 14 May 2009, at 04:30, lynette.woodburn at csiro.au wrote:
> Back to basics …
> Anyone new to biodiversity informatics (in general) and TDWG (in particular)
> might be expected, as a first step, to seek a broad understanding of the
> scope of the knowledge domain which is of interest to the community they’ve
> just joined.  Next, they’re likely to want to gain an understanding of each
> of the main concepts and to discover how those concepts relate to one
> other.  Delving yet deeper, curiosity will lead them to seek details about
> features used by the community to characterise each of those main concepts.
> So, gradually, it is anticipated that newcomers will gain an understanding
> of the meaning associated by their fellow community members with elements
> (concepts, features, relationships) within the knowledge domain.  (Those
> elements are, after all, the chief subjects of discourse amongst community
> members.)
> This fantastic voyage of discovery, these first steps into Aladdin’s Cave,
> ought to be made easy for any newcomer.  Instead, TDWG presents a dizzying
> array of perspectives on disparate subsets of elements within the knowledge
> domain, often with only cryptic, tenuous links binding them together.
> ‘Horses-for-courses’-drivers clearly exist for these subsets, but where is
> the common community understanding of where each element fits into the
> broader, shared knowledge domain which is TDWG’s scope?
> I fully support any initiative which more effectively leads newcomers (and
> not-so-newcomers) to that place: that place where I would hope to find, in
> plain expressions devoid of techno-speak, a description of each real world
> element (concept, feature, relationship), together with a simple
> representation (a label?) by which the TDWG community prefers each to be
> referred; that place which evolves, but endures, independently of
> technological fashions and particular implementations; that place I can
> visit to paint a picture in my mind’s eye of TDWG’s own Aladdin’s Cave.
> Lynette Woodburn
> Atlas of Living Australia
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> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Roger Hyam
> Roger at BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
> http://www.BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
> 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK
> Tel: +44 131 552 7171 ext 3015
> Fax: +44 131 248 2901
> http://www.rbge.org.uk/
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Greg Whitbread
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Australian National Herbarium
+61 2 62509482
ghw at anbg.gov.au

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