[uf-discuss] species microformats & OpenSearch

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Wed Dec 6 15:31:28 PST 2006

In message <004001c7198a$600e2730$202a7590$@ca>, "Shorthouse, David"
<dps1 at ualberta.ca> writes

>>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?

You didn't write that; I did.

>[David Shorthouse wrote:]

Please use a more standard quoting method, so that it's more apparent
what you are saying, and so that what you're quoting doesn't appear to
have been written by you. Thank you.

If you're a windows user, you may find "QuoteRight":


which is freeware, useful; though I believe that your mail client will
support proper quoting by itself.

You may also find:


informative (section 3 especially) even though it's specifically aimed
at uk.* usenet newsgroups.


Thank you. I see that Charles pointed you at some of the introductory
pages about Microformats, which should have allayed some of the concerns
and misapprehensions in your original post here.

>Microformats are concerned with existing practices.
>[David Shorthouse wrote:]
>Which are?

...Documented on the *.examples pages.

>>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.

Then you appear to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what
microformats are about. You also appear to give an answer specific to
"species", when your previous comment was apparently about microformats,
plural and general.

>>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?

Why would you expect your admitted lack of comprehension to do that?

>>& 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?

They are not intended to. Why would you suppose otherwise.


Indeed. And LSIDs could be marked up, using the current proposal.

>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.

They are common 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.

You have spoken to them all?!?

In any case, microformats are not just for people in museums and other

>>(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

Why would you expect them to be used in such a manner? That's not the
problem they're intended to solve.

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

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

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