[tdwg-tag] RDF/OWL Good Practices Task Group

Hilmar Lapp hlapp at nescent.org
Sat Sep 24 00:31:27 CEST 2011

Hi Steve -

Bob suggested too that I changed the charter into an Interest Group  
charter. So I'm sorry if rather than moving anything forward I created  
mostly confusion.

Having said that, the changes I made are a reflection of the context  
and scope of charge in which I think this group, whether it is now an  
IG or TG, should be operating, i.e., that I feel would make the most  
sense. I feel pretty strongly that producing and practically  
validating RDF/OWL data publishing and consumption practices will  
consist of more than one task, and the idea that this is a task we can  
do once and for all is rather concerning to me. In fact, IMHO it isn't  
even worth attempting - the technology landscape in this area is  
evolving so rapidly, anything we produce now is virtually guaranteed  
to be obsolete in one year if no group feels committed to maintain it.

I'll also admit that I'm actually surprised to find that the TAG is an  
IG similar to all others. I would think the TAG ought to be a cross- 
cutting group that integrates the output from all IGs, and has no TGs  
of its own other than those devoted to accomplishing this cross-IG  

Finally, if TGs are devoted to accomplishing one task and then they  
dissolve, I don't understand why anyone should be bothered with  
creating, and then approving a charter to start with - shouldn't they  
rather have an agenda (or possibly a proposal preceding that)? Either  
there are people willing to do the task or there are not - I don't see  
the point of the chartering/approval process here.

So, apparently the TDWG process just confuses the hell out of me. And  
apparently it's really only an IG that would be in line with what I  
think is  the most useful way to do this. Can we still change to IG?


On Sep 23, 2011, at 5:03 PM, Steve Baskauf wrote:

> Hilmar,
> I've been in class all afternoon so I haven't had time to look  
> carefully at your edits yet.  But I wanted to make one comment about  
> what you said in your second paragraph.  It is part of the nature of  
> a task group that it have a limited lifespan: the amount of time  
> that it takes to complete the task which it has been assigned.   
> After that, the job of maintaining the standard which the task group  
> creates reverts to the interest group which chartered it (I am  
> paraphrasing here from my understanding of http://www.tdwg.org/about-tdwg/process/) 
> .  So if the RDF group is actually a Task Group chartered by the  
> TAG, then after its task is completed, it will fall to the TAG to  
> maintain the product that it creates.
> The concerns that you raise below include some of the reasons why we  
> had initially suggested that the group be an Interest Group rather  
> than a Task Group.  An interest group does not have a defined  
> lifespan - it exists as long as the interest exists.  Unlike a Task  
> Group, it does not have to produce a defined product which http://www.tdwg.org/about-tdwg/process/ 
>  implies (but does not explicitly state) would be a standard of one  
> of the flavors described in http://www.tdwg.org/standards/status-and-categories/ 
>  (Technical Specification, Applicability Statement, Best Current  
> Practice, or Data Standard).
> The reason why we are currently proposing that the group be a Task  
> Group is primarily because several members of the TAG felt that was  
> the most appropriate thing.  I think that I agree with them.   
> However, I am still uneasy about several aspects of chartering the  
> group as a Task Group, namely:
> 1. I don't really understand exactly who the TAG is (i.e.  
> specifically, who are the particular people to whom the RDF TG would  
> be accountable?).
> 2. What precisely is the task whose completion will signal the end  
> of the life of the Task Group?  We have put some benchmarks in the  
> charter, but none of them include the creation of a standard of any  
> of the forms I listed above.  Is that OK for a Task Group?  I don't  
> know.
> I certainly don't want to put a damper on the forward progress of  
> the group by asking these questions, because I'm excited about the  
> prospect of getting the group off the ground and because the TDWG  
> meeting is only weeks away.  But at the moment we are engaging in a  
> discussion within the chartering group and I think it would be  
> appropriate for some of the TAG members to weigh in on these  
> concerns.  If it turns out that there isn't really any answer to the  
> question "who exactly is the TAG?" and "what is our task?" then  
> maybe chartering an Interest Group would be more appropriate than a  
> Task Group.
> Steve
> Hilmar Lapp wrote:
>> Joel -
>> I've made a number of edits. These are in part to put the motivation
>> into a larger beyond-TDWG context, and in part to make it a little
>> more future-proof. The charter in places read (to me) more like a
>> workshop agenda than a charter, thus preempting decisions that the TG
>> participants might (want to) make to a degree that I wasn't fully
>> comfortable with. I've tried to make it take a step back.
>> I also removed the sentence about handing off to the TAG after one
>> year - while that may be what the participants indeed decide to do
>> after one year, it's not what I'd want ingrained in the charter, and
>> also a one-off mindset isn't necessarily what I'd like to start with.
>> More to the point, if the TG (or whatever its successor(s)) doesn't
>> maintain those documents, I'm afraid nobody will, and there is plenty
>> of empirical evidence around the TDWG site to support that.
>> 	-hilmar
>> On Sep 19, 2011, at 3:46 PM, joel sachs wrote:
>>> Greetings everyone,
>>> After some back and forth amongst Steve Baskauf, myself, Greg
>>> Whitbread,
>>> and the executive, we've decided to move forward with an RDF/OWL  
>>> task
>>> group, convened under the TAG. Our task will be to deliver a  
>>> document
>>> comprising
>>> i. use cases and competency questions;
>>> ii. well documented examples of addressing those use cases via rdf  
>>> and
>>> sparql; and
>>> iii. discussion of advantages and disadvantages of the approaches
>>> illustrated by the examples.
>>> Our draft charter is at
>>> http://code.google.com/p/tdwg-rdf/wiki/CharterOfTG
>>> and we welcome comments, suggestions, and better ideas. One area  
>>> where
>>> we're still open is the question of whether or not our deliverable
>>> should
>>> be an official Best Current Practice document [1]. The charter
>>> reflects
>>> our current feeling that it should not. After we deliver our "book
>>> of use
>>> cases and examples", options would include being re-chartered by the
>>> TAG
>>> to produce a best practices document, spinning off as a "Semantic  
>>> Web
>>> Interest Group", or disbanding (either in triumph or despair).
>>> When we were planning to convene as an Interest Group, several of  
>>> you
>>> accepted our invitation to serve as core members, and we hope that
>>> convening as a Task Group does not change your willingness to do so.
>>> If
>>> you would like to be a core member of the group, and we haven't yet
>>> contacted you, there's a good chance that we will. But don't wait!
>>> Feel
>>> free to volunteer for core membership. (And recall that you don't
>>> have to
>>> be a "core member to" contribute.)
>>> In regards timeline, I'd like to incorporate any feedback we
>>> receive, and
>>> submit the charter to the executive at the end of this week, in
>>> hopes of
>>> being chartered by New Orleans.
>>> Many thanks!
>>> Joel.
>>> 1. http://www.tdwg.org/standards/status-and-categories/
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> tdwg-tag mailing list
>>> tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org
>>> http://lists.tdwg.org/mailman/listinfo/tdwg-tag
> -- 
> Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
> Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences
> postal mail address:
> VU Station B 351634
> Nashville, TN  37235-1634,  U.S.A.
> delivery address:
> 2125 Stevenson Center
> 1161 21st Ave., S.
> Nashville, TN 37235
> office: 2128 Stevenson Center
> phone: (615) 343-4582,  fax: (615) 343-6707
> http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu

: Hilmar Lapp  -:- Durham, NC -:- informatics.nescent.org :

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