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

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tue May 12 16:17:56 CEST 2009

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.



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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Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html

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