[Taxacom] Language tags for scientific names

Dave Vieglais vieglais at ku.edu
Tue Jul 1 12:48:28 CDT 2008

The W3C candidate recommendation RDFa (
http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-rdfa-primer/ ) provides some guidelines for
embedding RDF markup (i.e. data) within HTML (i.e. a visual rendering)
that while not directly related to the question over language tags
(which, since scientific names are by definition language neutral, do
not require, and so should not have, a language tag), is nonetheless a
useful strategy that can be adopted at low expense by this community.

Using RDFa,  one could write:

<p xmlns:dwc='http://tdw.org/tcs/elements/1.0/'
    <span style='font-style: italic;' typeof='tdwg:organism'>  	
      <span property='dwc:ScientificName'>Bufo Marinus</span>
      <span style='display:none;'
stars in the highly acclaimed
  <span property='dc:created'>1988</span>
  &quot;<span property='dc:title'>Cane Toads</span>&quot;
  <span property='dc:creator'>Mark Lewis</span>.

instead of:

  Bufo marinus stars in the highly acclaimed 1988 film "Cane Toads" by
Mark Lewis.

To the human reader, the information is the same, but the individual
data elements are readily identified as something interesting by a
parser. Microformats and GRDDL provide similar mechanisms, though it
is not clear which if any, is "better" though all prevail over the
current situation with no data markup.

To be useful, this example does of course require at least a
vocabulary defining the elements "ScientificName" and "organism" which
in this example exist within the fictitious namespace of
"http://tdw.org/tcs/elements/1.0/".  This issue remains regardless of
which mechanism is used to express the content (pure RDF, RDFa, GRDDL,
microformats).  Hopefully I am wrong in that such a vocabulary has not
yet been defined by the TDWG (or some other group) and someone could
direct interested implementers to the appropriate locations for this
information and perhaps even some recommendations for HTML authors on
how they can utilize such definitions within their documents.

  Dave V.

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