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

Bob Morris morris.bob at gmail.com
Sat Sep 24 00:53:04 CEST 2011

You'll still have to have tasks, task groups, and TG charters. I don't
think you gain anything by proliferating IGs. It looks to me that the
outputs desired are outputs about the TDWG technical architecture. The
TAG charter is pretty unambiguous that these admirable outcomes are
part of its remit. As you remark, there either are or aren't people
interested in maintaining these outcomes. Those people can join the
TAG or they can join the newly named IG.  What difference will there
be in the workflow if it is a new IG or TAG?  I also don't think the
TDWG constitution forbids renewable TGs. But even if it does, an
annually chartered TG whose charter is essentially "we will review
best practices document X and bring it up to date." is probably low
overhead and quickly approved by the IG. If you can't find a group to
do that, then you can't find it whether you have a disinterested
interest group, or a disinterested task group.


On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 6:31 PM, Hilmar Lapp <hlapp at nescent.org> wrote:
> 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 integration.
> 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?
> -hilmar
> 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
> 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/
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> --
> 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:
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> 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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Robert A. Morris

Emeritus Professor  of Computer Science
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125-3390
IT Staff
Filtered Push Project
Department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University

email: morris.bob at gmail.com
web: http://efg.cs.umb.edu/
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