[Taxacom] Language tags for scientific names

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sat Jun 28 23:06:51 CDT 2008

After having waded through this conversation as best I could (even though I
am technically on vacation....), and having switched sides more than once
during my readings, I think my perspective is probably best summarized by
Jim's most recent post below.

Trying to add semantic context to scientific names in electronic documents
via a semi-kludge of language atttibutes seems to me to be a quick-fix to a
problem that is becoming increasingly small; while the real solution (as
outlined by Jim) seems to me to be getting closer and closer to reality.
With next-generation uBio-esque tools and services operating within a
coordinated Global Names Architecture (GNA), itself built upon a thin but
highly inclusive Global Names Index (GNI), I predict that it will be just as
easy to mark-up scientific names in electronic documents with pointers to
resolvable GUIDs as it would be to mark them up with language attributes.
The hard work for both will be: 1) recognizing it as a taxonomic name; and
2) sorting out which Code it blongs to. Any tool that can do these two
things in order to mark it up with appropriate language attributes, will
soon (via GNA/GNI) be able to go all the way to a GUID tag.

Maybe we're trying to accommodate feeble browsers and other software that
consumes electronic documents in order to make some semantic sense of them;
but these, too, will likely fade into the history books alongside COBAL and
CP/M.  It seems to me that we're so close now to the brass ring (tagging
things like scientific names with explicit resolvable identifiers), that we
might as well reach for that brass ring now, instead of cobble together a
semi-solution that only incrementally reduces existing ambiguity.

Over & out....


> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Jim Croft
> Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2008 1:44 PM
> To: Andy Mabbett
> Cc: taxacom
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Language tags for scientific names
> This does not seam reasonable at all...  but that is just the 
> sort of person I am...
> Apart from the fact that the representation might be non 
> scientifically rigourous in that it might introduce names and 
> concepts that may not have been part of the original text 
> stream, but assuming that all the data is valid and could be 
> made part of the text stream, how about something like:
> <Representation>
>     <Label xml:lang="en">Japanese Maple</Label>
>     <Label xml:lang="de">Fächer-Ahorn</Label>
>     <taxon_name lsid="yadda.yadda.yadda">Acer palmatum</taxon_name>
>     <taxon_concept lsid="bhah.blah.blah">Acer 
> palmatum</taxon_concept>  </Representation>
> or
> <Representation>
>     <Label xml:lang="en">Japanese Maple</Label>
>     <Label xml:lang="de">Fächer-Ahorn</Label>
>     <Label name_lsid="yadda.yadda.yadda">Acer palmatum</Label>
>     <Label concept_lsid="bhaj.blah.blah">Acer 
> palmatum</Label>  </Representation>
> or silimar
> Each of these handles is unambiguous and an application could 
> conceivably be written to do meaningful things with each.
> jim
> On Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 5:14 AM, Andy Mabbett 
> <andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk> wrote:
> > In message
> > 
> <5ebbead70806280937p7087e3f0ne81839cf67749693 at mail.gmail.com>, Gregor 
> > Hagedorn <g.m.hagedorn at gmail.com> writes
> >
> >>> become retrospectively added to a language, such as the 
> many garden 
> >>> plants (like "Acer palmatum") lacking vernacular names, and so 
> >>> commonly referred to by their scientific names, in 
> everyday English, 
> >>> by people who wouldn't recognise them as biological taxa.
> >>
> >>That is one reason I would like to be able to express the following 
> >>Representation for human consumption for a Taxon Object :
> >> <Representation>
> >>    <Label xml:lang="en">Acer palmatum</Label>
> >>    <Label xml:lang="de">Fächer-Ahorn</Label>
> >>    <Label xml:lang="zxx-taxon">Acer palmatum</Label>  
> >></Representation>
> >
> > That seems perfectly reasonable to me.
> >
> > --
> > Andy Mabbett
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >
> --
> _________________
> 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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