Managing vocabularies used for the description of biodiversity resources

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Group discussion > Report of Vocabulary Management Task Group (VoMaG) v.02: review and feedback

Report of Vocabulary Management Task Group (VoMaG) v.02: review and feedback

Éamonn Ó Tuama
1678 days ago

Please use this page to discuss the v.02 draft report of the TDWG Vocabulary Management Task Group (VoMaG).

This is the second version of the draft report based on feedback provided within the VoMaG group. It is also being circulated more widely so that we can benefit from other experts who are not members of VoMaG.

You are invited to review the report and provide feedback here, suggesting edits/amendments/additions. The report has been issued in PDF format with line numbers. Please refer to these when specifying location of content in the document.

The deadline for feedback is August 1st after which we will revise the document and submit it to TDWG.

Dag Endresen
1632 days ago

Some remarks to the very useful comments from Julie Chataigner (received by email).

See also: http://community.gbif.org/pg/forum/topic/34057/report-of-vocabulary-management-task-group-vomag-v02-review-and-feedback/

Line 95. The statement that the words vocabulary and ontology are often used with overlapping meaning perhaps relate more to the overlapping use of these words in general than in the VoMaG report?

Perhaps rewrite from line 95 as:
"The terms vocabulary and ontology are often used somewhat loosely in an overlapping fashion. In this document we aim for the word "vocabulary" to be used for any list of terms including lists of term names and definitions, while the word "ontology" is reserved for a semantically richer description of terms expressed in a standard way such as the web ontology language (OWL)."

Line 384. Julie asks if it is ok to mix and match terms from different standard external vocabularies outside of the control of the TDWG task groups from the perspective of potential unstable semantics. As I understand, this is one of the core messages of the KOS task group and the VoMaG work that we do recommend to mix and match terms and to reuse existing terms. This is stated in recommendation (4).12 on line 717. The duplication of terms from redeclaring existing terms are much worse than the risk of unstable semantics for external terms. However, perhaps we need to adress the question of what happen if the external term changes or is deprecated. I believe there is little other to do in such a situation than for the respective TDWG vocabulary task group - to update the respective TDWG standard vocabulary(ies) to reflect the modification of the external term. We could add a sentence about this situation to recommendation (4).12...?

Line 469. Julie recommends a minimum timeframe for updating issues raised for TDWG standard vocabularies. While highly desired for TDWG to issue such a "promise", TDWG  probably lack the stable funding to follow up. Perhaps there can be a "softer" promise written into the Vocabulary Maintenance Specification (recommendation [2].13). Such discussion is perhaps outside the scope of this VoMaG report? Or a new recommendation could be added after recommendation (2).16 - recommending the concept vocabulary task group to indicate the timeframe "promise" for how soon new proposals will be adressed. Perhaps once a year is a more realistic "promise" than on a monthly basis?

I agree with the comments from Julie on the overlapping concepts represented by the basisOfRecord and lifeStage controlled vocabularies. However valid, these comments belong on the Darwin Core issue tracker of the Darwin Core Google Code project site - or in the "new" VoMaG context - at the Terms Wiki... :-)

On a more general level, the recommendations in the VoMaG report are somewhat difficult to refer to when the number restart within each chapter. Perhaps we could use the chapter number as part of the numbering. The recommendations in chapter 2 could be renumbered 2.1 to 2.18, in chapter 3 renumbered as 3.1 and 3.2, etc.