[Taxacom] Language tags for scientific names

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 16:22:38 CDT 2008

Thanks Dave.  I like the concept of 'language neurality' for scientific names.

The example you give is certainly not something a human would want to
read in its unrendered state but it is easy to see how an application
could extract usable and useful information.  Not entirely sure how an
application might embed such markup into the narrative string - but
this is another conversation.

In the example you provide, where is the signal that says: do not
translate 'Bufo marina' into the equivalent of 'Bufo harbour or place
where you moor your yacht'?  This seemed to be an early specification
driver of this thread.  Is it implicit in dwc:ScientificName?  If so,
it is probably not going to work because I do not think it is
reasonable to expect third party translating tools to know about dwc.
It would be nice if they did but I bet they won't.


On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 3:48 AM, Dave Vieglais <vieglais at ku.edu> wrote:
> 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/'
>   xmlns:dc='http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/'>
>    <span style='font-style: italic;' typeof='tdwg:organism'>
>      <span property='dwc:ScientificName'>Bufo Marinus</span>
>      <span style='display:none;'
>          property='dc:identifier'>urn:lsid:catalogueoflife.org:taxon:df2ca61e-29c1-102b-9a4a-00304854f820:ac2008</span>
>    </span>
> stars in the highly acclaimed
>  <span property='dc:created'>1988</span>
> film
>  &quot;<span property='dc:title'>Cane Toads</span>&quot;
> by
>  <span property='dc:creator'>Mark Lewis</span>.
> </p>
> 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.
> regards,
>  Dave V.
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Jim Croft
jim.croft at gmail.com

"I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in
order to enjoy ourselves."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889-1951)

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