[tdwg-tag] RDF ontology architecture

Roger Hyam rogerhyam at mac.com
Fri Oct 16 09:49:08 CEST 2009

Hi Bob,

I don't know if you are going to Montpellier or not (wouldn't be TDWG  
without you) but I am hoping to discuss this there in an informal way.

The management of the TDWG ontology has become a pain as no one is  
doing it in any coordinated way and no one is keen to pay for it to be  
done. I have been talking to various people off line and have a  
cunning plan that I outlined in a blog here:


I was waiting to hear back from Donald (as TDWG Chair) and David  
Remsen (as GBIF access point) to see if they would support this course  
of action. I didn't want to advocated an approach that didn't have the  
high level support of the organisations involved.

I have now heard back from them both ( but have been travelling and  
not had a chance to post to this list) and throw this open to  
discussion before leaving for a week to a place with limited email  
contact (family).

Yes I do love OWL and OWL 2 - if anything for the clarity of thinking  
they impose. I don't wish to impose this on others, particularly  
taxonomists, who (according to my calculations using OWL) do very  
little clear thinking. See http://www.hyam.net/blog/archives/598 for  
one set of argument but there are man more. BTW Taxacom have already  
done this to death.

Hope this helps,


On 15 Oct 2009, at 21:52, Bob Morris wrote:

> In drafting an RDF representation of MRTG[1], I am struggling with how
> close to stay to the DC and DwC minimalist style of ontology
> architecture. I find this well justified by the sentence "For example,
> though the data types and constraints are not provided in the term
> definitions, recommendations are made about how to restrict the values
> where appropriate"  in the DwC introduction[2].
> What I'm struggling with is how much to slant MRTG---which uses a lot
> of DwC--more toward OWL or more towards only RDF. See [3] for
> discussion of the dillemma raised when you put any of the DC or DwC
> RDF files into Protege4  or WonderWeb, the Manchester OWL
> Validator[4]. Roughly speaking, I took [3] to be the Manchester and
> Stanford axis of OWL to be saying, "In the future, don't expect to
> talk about OWL without stronger typing."  {As I understand DwC/RDF,
> this all is accomplished by declaring terms to be mainly rdf:Property
> with the only typification coming from the assertions using the
> predicate dwcattributes:organizedInClass }.
> So my questions are possibly:
> 1. What committment does TAG have to OWL
> 2. Has TAG examined the applicability to TDWG of the W3 OWL 2
> recommendations recently advanced to the Proposed Recommendation stage
> [4], [5], or its relatives.
> 3. If no to 2, is there a plan to do so? Against what use cases?
> A few months ago, Roger seemed to wax enthusiastic about Knowledge
> Representation and  reasoning on biodiversity data, but I haven't seen
> much traffic about what are the modeling requirements to support that,
> or whether TAG has a plan to move that way.
> Bob Morris
> [1] MRTG 0.8  http://www.keytonature.eu/wiki/MRTG_Schema_v0.8
> [2] DwC intro  http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/index.htm
> [3] p4-feedback thread on rdf:Property
> https://mailman.stanford.edu/pipermail/p4-feedback/2009-October/002448.html
> [4] WonderWeb http://www.mygrid.org.uk/OWL/Validator
> [5] OWL2 Overview http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/PR-owl2-syntax-20090922/
> [5] OWL2 rdf semantics
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/PR-owl2-rdf-based-semantics-20090922/
> -- 
> Robert A. Morris
> Professor of Computer Science (nominally retired)
> UMASS-Boston
> Associate, Harvard University Herberia
> email: ram at cs.umb.edu
> web: http://bdei.cs.umb.edu/
> web: http://etaxonomy.org/FilteredPush
> http://www.cs.umb.edu/~ram
> phone (+1)617 287 6466
> _______________________________________________
> tdwg-tag mailing list
> tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org
> http://lists.tdwg.org/mailman/listinfo/tdwg-tag

More information about the tdwg-tag mailing list