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

Hilmar Lapp hlapp at nescent.org
Sat Sep 24 00:57:28 CEST 2011

Fair enough Bob. I just stated my opinions :-)


On Sep 23, 2011, at 6:53 PM, Bob Morris wrote:

> 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.
> Bob
> 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
>> 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/
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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:
>> 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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> -- 
> Robert A. Morris
> Emeritus Professor  of Computer Science
> UMASS-Boston
> 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/
> web: http://etaxonomy.org/mw/FilteredPush
> http://www.cs.umb.edu/~ram
> phone (+1) 857 222 7992 (mobile)

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

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