[Taxacom] Microformats

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Tue Nov 6 14:22:53 CST 2007

In message <0BB2164C-9B7E-4145-B50F-AF045A3CFC6A at hyam.net>, Roger Hyam
<roger at hyam.net> writes

>I have updated the microformats wiki:

Thank you for your contribution.

>"Central to the TDWG standards architecture are the LSID vocabularies

I think the simplicity of microformats compared to those vocabularies is
one advantage of microformats, especially for lay-users and
lay-publishers. Not that there's any problem with necessary complexity,
for professional, of course. Horses for courses!

>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.

They don't define anything - they simply provide labels for marking-up
what is already published.

>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.

As I believe I've already said, I do think it should be and will be
trivial for parsers to render species-microformatted pages in a
TDWG-compliant manner.

However, it must be clearly understood that microformats are not in the
business of making people change what they publish or how they publish
it. If they're already using, say, LSID, all well and good, and the a
microformat should allow that to be "labelled" so that it can be parsed.
If they're not, the a microformat must still allow them to label the
binominal or vernacular name, or whatever, that they're using - just as,
say, the hCard microformat allows me to mark up my postal address, in an
appropriately granular manner, without offering any guarantee that I've
used the correct postal code or spelled the town correctly.

>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. "

It would be great to have TDWG involvement in the remaining stages of
creating a 'species' microformat, and to have TDWG recommendation or
endorsement for its use; provided that TDWG recognises the role and
limitations of scope of microformats as mentioned above.

Providing it's not taking a sledgehammer to a nut, I'd be happy to do as
you suggest. Being ignorant of the process you mention, I wonder - do
you think it should be done now, or when the microformat proposal is a
little nearer completion? Perhaps you could explain more (off-list if
necessary) or we could have a telephone conversation (I believe that,
like me, you're in the UK)? Would the microformat process:


satisfy TDWG's requirement for a public review? What would happen of the
outcome of the TDWG's involvement were at odds with the outcome of the
microformat process?

Andy Mabbett
            *  Say "NO!" to compulsory UK ID Cards:  <http://www.no2id.net/>
            *  Free Our Data:  <http://www.freeourdata.org.uk>
            *  Are you using Microformats, yet: <http://microformats.org/> ?

More information about the Taxacom mailing list