[uf-discuss] species microformats & OpenSearch

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Wed Dec 6 10:51:37 PST 2006

In message <002501c71906$33104170$9930c450$@ca>, "Shorthouse, David"
<dps1 at ualberta.ca> writes

>I am a relative newcomer to microformats and come with a biological sciences
>background so am most interested in the "species" microformat group of
>discussions (http://microformats.org/wiki/species).

It's good to have you aboard.

>Rod Page and I with contributions from Charles Roper have been having an
>interesting discussion about OpenSearch on his iSpecies
>(http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.uk/~rpage/ispecies/) blog
>(http://ispecies.blogspot.com/) as it relates to The Nearctic Spider
>Database's use of some software called Zoom Search.

I couldn't find that discussion. Can you post specific URL(s), please?

> Of particular concern to
>me is:
>1) using correct & appropriate nomenclature and,
>2) providing a means to aggregate the sorts of species pages produced as
>exemplified by The Nearctic Spider Database

Both of which are allowed BUT NOT ENFORCED by the proposal as it stands.

>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>

Your mark-up does not match the current proposal; the name will change
from "species"; the URN in your example is not visible, and you have not
(though that's optional) marked up the authority.

>.in the hopes that uBio's and other LSIDs will eventually contribute to the
>semantic web in a taxonomically intelligent way.

Note that that's a hypothetical future development, which may or may not
happen. Microformats are concerned with existing practices.

>This in my opinion is the way to go with microformats.

What, specifically is?

>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

I'm sorry that you cannot see that; and I hope to be able to persuade
you otherwise - but note that your lack of comprehension in that regard
is not a failing on behalf of the proposal. At the very least, your
example conveys more, and more semantic, information than simply:

        <h1>Theridion agrifoliae Levi, 1957</h1>

>& will stand the test of taxonomic revisions

How does plain text do that?

As well as allowing a professional biologist to mark up the sort of
thing you deal with, the proposal is intended to allow an author to
indicate that in, say:

        I saw a Blackbird in John's garden


        Birds seen from HMS Beagle included Diomedea exulans

        We recommend that you buy our Rose 'peace' for your gardens

that "Blackbird", "Diomedea exulans" and "Rose 'peace' " are species,
and not "garden" or "Beagle".

As Bruce D'Arcus wrote earlier today:

        in the real practical world out there, people want to describe
        what they want to describe; not to conform to some limited set
        of terms that only get agreed to through some tortuous process
        of which the vast majority of people couldn't be bothered.

>(i.e how do the current species microformats
>deal with synonyms, homonyms, and other recognized nomenclature?).

I believe this has already been answered; though note that there are no
"current species microformats", only a proposal for discussion.

Andy Mabbett
                Say "NO!" to compulsory ID Cards:  <http://www.no2id.net/>

                Free Our Data:  <http://www.freeourdata.org.uk>

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