[tdwg-tag] class design, generalization, L(O)D

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Tue Nov 16 00:18:29 CET 2010

The universe that TDWG sets out to support is getting wider and wider.  In a way, the needs of the community have become a moving target and may continue to move, making the target very difficult to hit.  I think the temptation is great to be disappointed with not keeping up, but realistically TDWG is doing a pretty good job of going after all the many directions.  There have been successes and they didn't vanish because some new needs have come along.

It's clear to me that any "one size fits all" approach will never work for biodiversity informatics standards.  There are several  "kinds" of audience, multiple overlapping and even orthogonal use cases, and multiple levels of capability and interest within this very broad community. Recognizing these segments of the world to which standards need to apply will be an important part of the TDWG future.  And that recognition I suppose means some tolerance is called for from all sides to acknowledge the existence of other sides.  That makes solutions even tougher though.  But, we need to take it on nevertheless.


-----Original Message-----
From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Jim Croft
Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 4:34 PM
To: Blum, Stan
Cc: tdwg-tag at tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [tdwg-tag] class design, generalization, L(O)D

I would have to agree Stan.  For all its faults TDWG has produced standards that were/are useful.

The Australia's Virtual Herbarium would not have been possible without the efforts and products of TDWG and the herbarium community still rusns on this.  The Online Catalog of Australian Museums and the Atlas of Living Australia extended this nationally and GBIF and EoL are doing the same thing globally.

The standards may be incomplete, maybe flaky, they may not even work, but they provide the foundation of communications and we are much better off with slightly borked standards than with none at all.

But the criticism of TDWG sitting a bit awkwardly and self-contained in the wider standards framework is a valid one and something we are working to address.  I have always assumed this is one of the guiding principles of TDWG.

I prefer the analogy of motivating jelly tpo to stay nailed to the wall.  :)


On Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 9:24 AM, Blum, Stan <SBlum at calacademy.org> wrote:
> On 11/15/10 11:19 AM, "Peter DeVries" <pete.devries at gmail.com> wrote:
> [ ... ]
> So in addition to failing to work within the standards of the larger 
> informatics community TDWG*, is failing to demonstrate that it has a 
> working, useful standard.
> [...]
> DarwinCore is not the only thing TDWG has done, but the DarwinCore is 
> explicitly based on Dublin Core, both in content and in the DCMI 
> approach to maintenance.  More over, every TDWG effort in the last 
> decade has been based on some kind of widely used internet standard (XML schema, for example).
>  Are those not part of the larger informatics community?
> The second part of the statement is a very narrow opinion.   GBIF 
> provides access to more than 200 million organism occurrence records 
> gathered from hundreds of providers, all using TDWG standards.  Not working, not useful?
>  Only if your definition of useful includes the qualifier "with 
> semantic web technologies."  Yes, within the semantic web domain, we 
> don't have anything useful or working.
> I think the point of this discussion is to determine what 
> demonstrations and supporting specifications would be appropriate and 
> feasible in the near term.   Then we need motivation for a herd of cats.
> -Stan
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Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~ http://www.google.com/profiles/jim.croft
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.'
 - Robert Frost, poet (1874-1963)

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