[tdwg-tag] Re-organisation of TDWG Ontology: Danger silence will == acquiescence!

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Tue May 12 16:29:41 CEST 2009

Several people have espoused this existing vocabulary reuse idea and
it seems on the surface to make sense (why reinvent, duplicate, etc.)
Has this been adopted as a general working principle for TDWG?  Or
should it?

If it has been adopted, de facto or de jure, is there an agreed
priority in which the vocabularies should be raided for terms?  Or is
this just being too anally retentive and taxonomist?


On Wed, May 13, 2009 at 12:17 AM, Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
> Dear Roger,
> This is probably off topic (and maybe I missed something), but it really
> worries me that much of the TDWG vocabulary is unique to TDWG. Journal
> publishers are busy pumping out Dublin Core and PRISM (sometimes with FOAF).
> I'm trying to link this to records nomenclators pump out. I seem to recall
> some statement that where possible TDWG would reuse existing vocabularies,
> but I don't see this happening. In the meantime, I'm busy mapping our
> idiosyncratic vocabulary to that used by publishers.
> Regards
> Rod
> On 12 May 2009, at 09:59, Roger Hyam wrote:
> Hi All,
> I need to do some work on the Taxon Name and Taxon Concept vocabularies and
> believe I have come up with a good way of organising the TDWG ontology space
> (everything within http:/rs.tdwg.org/ontology).
> The following are the changes I suggest:
> All files should be OWL DL compliant
> All files should be openable in Protege 4 (I believe this is now good enough
> to use for editing these small ontologies)
> We take a highly structured modular approach I call this the Bricks and
> Mortar design pattern
> Some files are 'Bricks' and as such import or reference no other files,
> classes or individuals. e.g. TaxonName does not mention a higher 'Name'
> object in the class hierarchy.
> Other files are 'Mortar'. These files import Bricks and stipulate
> relationships between things. Because we are using OWL it is easy to define
> things like the class hierarchy or the range of a property in a separate
> file to the file the original class or property was defined in.
> This pattern gives us maximum re-usability as the same Brick could be used
> in different ways. It does not bind us to any one implementation of one
> object.
> An example of the usage pattern would be to define TaxonName, TaxonConcept,
> Rank, NomenclaturalCode as separate bricks that don't reference each other
> at all then create a TCS ontology that imports these 4 bricks and defines
> their relationships.
> We move to some other method of presenting the ontologies on line - possibly
> the OWLDoc plug-in for Protege. This would lose us the branded look we have
> at the moment but would be more flexible and consistent in the long run.
> As I need to do this for the TaxonName TaxonConcept vocabularies I volunteer
> to do manage the space this year if people are happy going down this route.
> From the point of view of deployed systems (the nomenclators) there may be a
> need for a namespace change on some properties but I would review what is in
> use and this would be trivial - if necessary at all.
> What do you think? I will take silence as acquiescence on the grounds that
> any movement is better than none -  though I don't suppose I will get round
> to doing anything about changes till after e-Biosphere in June.
> All the best,
> Roger
> -----------------------------------------------------
>  Roger Hyam - Project Officer WP4
>  Pan European Species Infrastructure
>  +44 75 90 60 80 16
> -----------------------------------------------------
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> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
> Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
> Tel: +44 141 330 4778
> Fax: +44 141 330 2792
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> Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com
> Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html
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Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~

"Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality."
- Joseph Conrad, author (1857-1924)

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said,
but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
 - attributed to Robert McCloskey, US State Department spokesman

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