[uf-discuss] species microformats & OpenSearch

Shorthouse, David dps1 at ualberta.ca
Wed Dec 6 15:00:50 PST 2006

>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?

[David Shorthouse wrote:] 

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.
[David Shorthouse wrote:] 
Which are?

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

What, specifically is?
[David Shorthouse wrote:] 
Linking microformats with a system to track nomenclature like LSIDs & thus
elevate the "human-readable" aspect of these to something more
programmatically & taxonomically useful.

>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. 
[David Shorthouse wrote:] 
And this gets me on-board & supportive of microformats how?

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?
[David Shorthouse wrote:] 
It doesn't. I don't follow your question. How do microformats do that? LSIDs

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".
[David Shorthouse wrote:] 
These are rather trivial examples.

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.
[David Shorthouse wrote:] 
Sounds like microformats to the majority of species page providers in
museums & other institutions.

>(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.
[David Shorthouse wrote:] 
So should I bother marking-up my species pages now or wait until there is
evidence that they are actually being used in a taxonomically rigorous

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