[Taxacom] Microformats

Roger Hyam roger at hyam.net
Tue Nov 6 03:56:33 CST 2007


Dear All,

I have updated the microformats wiki:

http://microformats.org/wiki/species- 
brainstorming#Taxonomic_Databases_Working_Group

with the following

"Central to the TDWG standards architecture are the LSID vocabularies  
(http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/TAG/LsidVocs). The role of these  
vocabularies is to define URIs for the nuts-and-bolts concepts that  
occur in the biodiversity informatics domain. See a description of  
what the TDWG ontology is (http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/TAG/ 
WhatIsTheOntology) for details. Although the vocabularies are defined  
in OWL the intention is for their URIs to be used as namespaces  
across different XML and non-XML based technologies. They can act as  
a central mapping point for those hard pressed developers who want to  
combine data presented to them in many formats.

The species microformats that are proposed here are a good thing. The  
only danger is that they re-define any of the central terms defined  
in the TDWG vocabularies. If they do that then they are creating  
another language instead of extending HTML to embrace existing  
semantics - which I don't think is their intent. It would be nice to  
have the data in web pages in a form that can be combined with the  
hundreds of millions of records marked up with the TDWG URIs.

If there is enough belief in the need for a Species Microformat why  
not propose a TDWG Applicability Statement and take it through a peer  
review process. The TDWG process (http://www.tdwg.org/about-tdwg/ 
process/) is quite simple and free (unless you count blood, sweat and  
tears). You would need to form a Task Group with a charter saying  
what you intended to do. As convener of the TAG Interest Group I  
would willingly host the Task Group. You could then propose a  
standard and have it reviewed by a range of biologists and IT people  
before it becomes ratified and recommended for adoption. "

All the best,

Roger




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