[uf-discuss] species microformats & OpenSearch

Scott Reynen scott at randomchaos.com
Wed Dec 6 06:14:47 PST 2006

On Dec 6, 2006, at 1:14 AM, Shorthouse, David wrote:

> To that end, I now make use of uBio LSIDs & marked-up species pages  
> with:
> <h1><span class="species urn:lsid:ubio.org:namebank:2029133">Theridion
> agrifoliae</span> Levi, 1957</h1>
> .in the hopes that uBio's and other LSIDs will eventually  
> contribute to the
> semantic web in a taxonomically intelligent way. This in my opinion  
> is the
> way to go with microformats.

Hi David.  Welcome to the list.  The above seems to me very unlikely  
to be adopted by HTML publishers.  That LSID URN refers to an RDF  
resource, and RDF is not intended to be consumed by humans.   
Microformats are for humans first.  Also, the RDF resource lists the  
canonical name as "Theridion agrifoliae," so that alone should be  
canonically descriptive, right?  What exactly is the benefit of  
repeating this information in the class when it's already in the  


> I simply cannot comprehend how something like:
> <h1><span class="species">Theridion agrifoliae</span> Levi, 1957</h1>
> .could ever contribute to the semantic web in a meaningful way &  
> will stand
> the test of taxonomic revisions (i.e how do the current species  
> microformats
> deal with synonyms, homonyms, and other recognized nomenclature?).

Synonyms and other nomenclature are covered by <abbr>, e.g.:

Along came a <abbr title="Theridion agrifoliae"  
class="species">spider</abbr> and sat down beside her.

This keeps the more precise version accessible to human readers  
(unlike class names), without requiring them to read it.

Homonyms should be irrelevant to markup, as parsers read only HTML  
text, not audio.

If there are real limitations to the simpler solution, please  
describe them in more detail.  It would be especially helpful if you  
have content you can try marking up and describe the specific  
problems you face, to keep away from hypotheticals.  But if you're  
just looking for a more general syntax for these semantics, you may  
want to just use RDF instead of microformats.  We're not trying to  
mark up everything here - just enough to be useful.

Regarding OpenSearch, anyone can return microformat results in  
OpenSearch format, but I don't know of anyone doing so yet.   
Technorati and Alexa are both running early microformat aggregators,  
but the species microformat is just getting started so there's not  
much to aggregate yet.


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