[uf-discuss] species microformats: a penultimate reprise

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Fri Dec 8 12:18:01 PST 2006

In message <000001c71a76$1d1c5e50$57551af0$@ca>, "Shorthouse, David"
<dps1 at ualberta.ca> writes

>Andy et al.,

>I temporarily subscribed to this listserv once again to:

And have apparently unsubscribed, again. Nonetheless, I'll reply, for
the benefit of other readers.

>1) apologize for allowing my emotions get in the way of what can be a
>fantastic solution to a very difficult problem

Thank you for the apology. On the basis that you are apologising for
falsely accusing me of spamming, I am happy to accept.

> and,
>2) offer advice to take your proposed species microformats to the next
>level of resilience in the face of taxonomic uncertainties.

Thank you; but the proposal already has adequate resilience.

>I also expect GUIDs in the form of LSIDs to contribute in a
>dramatic fashion to the aggregation of taxonomic resources in a
>rigorous manner, but there is as yet little work done on the very
>problem of developing and maintaining name resolution functionality (i.e.
>synonymic to current nomenclatural mappings, though triple stores,
>RDF, and other similar schema have some promise).

That's future-gazing, again.

>I hope proponents of microformats can sit at these tables. The current
problem with the millions of
>species pages in existence is that there are very few schemes governing
>structure and yet there is an opportunity here to do something
>remarkable because all biological names naturally have structure.

A structure which can be marked up using the current proposal. Anyone
who disagrees is welcome to point out the incompatibilities, which, like
those raised previously, will be speedily addressed.

>But, there is a responsibility here to do it right.

Indeed. However, your opinion as to what is "right" is not the only one;
and your opinion does not sit with the methodologies used by

> Organizations like the Taxonomic
>Databases Working Group (TDWG) have participated in realizing the
>sorts of things biologists dream about. Is there a TDWG participant here
>to help species microformats be recognized and adopted?

They have been invited.

>      So, I apologize for directing a line of questioning that in a
>number of instances stepped beyond the goals of species microformats. I
>you appreciate the fact that my goals are much the same as yours

I think it is apparent that they are not.

> I am well familiar with your proposal since it was first brought to my
>on the forum I maintain.

You may be "familiar" with it, but the evidence is that you have, sadly,
failed to grasp its intent or implications.

>However, I would have appreciated being
>contacted directly about it rather than seeing it in an arachnologists'

And what makes you so special that you should have been contacted

>Species microformats have nothing directly to do with spider research and
>identification in their present level of acceptance and adoption.

No, but they do apply to marking-up the names of spiders, when they're
published on the web.

>They are at this stage a web developer's tool with future client

No, microformats already have lots of practical uses.

>Andy, because our discussion had degraded to a level that would offend
>the school children and others who use the Nearctic Arachnologists'
>Forum, I did indeed wipe out the thread.

You censored something (a cut & paste of
 which was not offensive, but which did contain criticism of your
actions and refutations of your spurious claims. I stand by what wrote

> However, if I receive a similar public apology
>from you, I will re-enable your account in the forum and will welcome
>your participation in arachnology research and appreciation.

I owe you no apology.

>First, I urge you to be patient and to recognize the fact that many
>especially those who are involved in developing biological resources
>on the web, just won't "get it". I am an exception.

On the contrary - you clearly don't "get" what has been proposed.

>I have read through your species microformat proposal and fully
>understand it. I was evidently out of line by playing devil's advocate
>and forcing you to think outside the box.

Why should we now take what you say at face value, if you are saying
that your previous comments were not sincere?

>In the face of the mess taxonomy can be at times, it would be worth
>thinking about GUIDs like LSIDs for use in microformats for species. uBio
>is but one provider of LSIDs. There are at least a half dozen other
>providers and many more are in the works.

The fact that you say the above, when GUIDs have already been taken into
account and are covered by the existing proposal; and when you have been
told that more than once, is clear evidence that you either do not
understand the proposal, or are again "playing devil's advocate".

>I have participated in the upcoming GBIF portal development, an
>initiative in the works called SpeciesBase, which if realized will be
>what GBIF is for primary collections data, but for species pages, and
>will be participating in the Entomological Collections Network where a
>lot of work is devoted to producing web-based resources for collections

Future-gazing, again.

Nonetheless, please fell free to point out what you think might be
published by that process, which could not be marked up using the
current proposal.

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

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

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