[tdwg-tag] Darwin Core term management - dc:type, basisOfRecord, and recordClass

Bob Morris morris.bob at gmail.com
Wed Nov 18 13:23:13 CET 2009

I am confused about the usage in DwC documents of the phrases
"domain",  "Class", and dwcattributes:organizedInClass

A. The file http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/history/decisions/index.htm
carries the text
"The domain of Behavior was recognized as having been spuriously set
to Event when it should have been Occurrence."
(This should be "behavior" not "Behavior" I believe).

As best I can tell, this is meant to mean in this case that the object
of the predicate dwcattributes:organizedInClass is now meant to be

B. http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/index.htm carries the text
   "3. Term Definitions
     Class: 	The primary category of terms (Class) that this term describes.
As best I can tell this means that the object of the predicate
dwcattributes:organizedInClass is  the stated Class

C. The definition of organizedInClass in
carries  the rdfs:comment
"Does not imply domain or range membership in the class."

D. (Irrelevant to my confusion, but needs to be fixed):
dwcattributes.rdf is
--- ill-formed XML on trivial grounds (there is white space after a "<")
----  is invalid RDF even when made well-formed because it has both
"ID" and "about" attributes on all four dwcattributes that it defines

So below are my conclusions. Are they right?

1. "The Class of a dwc property p is X" and
 "The domain of dwc property p is X" both mean
p  dwcattributes:organizedInClass  X

2. "The range of dwc property p is X" has no expression in the current
dwcattributes or elsewhere in DwC

3. The two informal uses of the word "domain"---one in the decision
file cited and perhaps elsewhere, and one in the rdfs:comment cited
from dwcattributes.rdf ---are inconsistent, but the latter may be
interpreted as: "an extension of DwC to valid OWL should not assume
that any relation between rdfs:domain and
dwcattributes:organizedInClass is intended by the DwC, which is
entirely silent on both rdfs:domain and rdfs:range for all of its

[Personally, I don't like the above interpretation. The very fact of
having made the cited change to "behavior" to me suggests that DwC
does care about informal semantics, and that at the very least,
organizedInClass is informally intended to be a subProperty of
rdfs:domain. ]

Robert A. Morris
Professor of Computer Science (nominally retired)
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125-3390
Associate, Harvard University Herbaria
email: ram at cs.umb.edu
web: http://bdei.cs.umb.edu/
web: http://etaxonomy.org/FilteredPush
phone (+1)617 287 6466

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