Further information on 1999 TDWG Meeting

Georgina MacKenzie gmackenzie at YORK.BIOSIS.ORG
Wed May 19 10:41:25 CDT 1999

1999 TDWG Meeting - International Union for Biological Sciences
                                 Taxonomic Database Working Group

29 - 31 October, Harvard Herbarium, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Some more information about the discussion topics follows.
Further details will be announced soon, and will be mounted on the
TDWG web site:


where a REGISTRATION FORM is now available.

Opening Session - Saturday morning, 30th October 1999
This will be a discussion on standards in general, and in particular
TDWG's role in developing and maintaining
standards/recommendations.  The promotion/facilitation of
standards for the whole taxonomic community (W3C, NISO, library
community, Z39.50 (e.g. ZBIG), etc.) will be a major topic.

Saturday afternoon
A more particular concern that has been raised in earlier meetings
is the development of standards for the exchange of descriptive
data in biology, and in this meeting we hope to have a dialogue
between software developers, users, theoretical experts, etc.
Some issues are

1: How should original observations be recorded and documented?
2: What kind of information should be available in all standards,
irrespective of format (Nexus, Delta, etc)?
3: What format should the standard have? Do we need a new
common standard based on XML (perhaps more contentious)?

Brief presentations (10-15 mins) outlining issues relevant to the first
two sessions will be followed by discussion.  Those who are
interested in presenting issues and leading the ensuing
discussion should contact Stan Blum (sblum at calacademy.org),
Gregor Hagedorn (G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE), or Peter Stevens
(peter.stevens at mobot.org), giving a brief statement of their
"favourite" issue.  Those who would rather listen, but who would
like to see particular issues discussed, should also contact us.
This will allow us to group the issues, to make the discussion more

Of course, there are many issues involving standards, so
suggestions as to further topics to include are welcome.

1:  General (e.g., charging a committee to draft a better description
of the TDWG standards development/maintenance processes.
2:  Explore ways in which TDWG can help DELTA, LUCID,
NEXUS, etc. developers establish a standard for exchanging data
among their programs.
3:  Society and business matters (officers, dues, websites,
committee reports, etc.)

PLEASE NOTE:  There will be ample time for demonstration and
discussion of software that members have developed, and those
with software to demonstrate should let us know.  Also, revisions
and additions are welcome!!

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