Wednesday, January 30, 2008

TaxonConcept's Taxon Concepts

Currently, TaxonConcept's data exchange capabilities are quite limited. This is mainly because we have not been able to determine a appropriate XML format which would allow us to represent the majority of TaxonConcepts information categories such as, concepts, descriptions, links to image objects, references etc.
Commonly used formats such as DarwinCore and ABCD are mainly designed to represent metadata of collection objects or species observation data and therefore not suited for our purposes. But at least TC's most important information pieces the taxonomic concepts and references can be represented fairly good by the TDWG standard TCS (TaxonConcept transfer schema).
According to this TDWG standard, a Taxon Concept is a name plus a description of a taxon, a definition which fits perfectly to what we do:
The taxonomic concepts stored in TC are entries of published synonymy lists. These basically represent definitions of individual taxonomic opinions by including or excluding other author's descriptions. In other words, a synonymy list is a Taxon Concept, which includes other Taxon Concepts.
The most difficult part when we start to translate our data to TCS will be the translation of 'Open Nomenclature' to TCS. Fortunately, TCS allows to represent our synonymy list entries as concept relationships, pro parte relationships (p) as well as misapplied names (non). which should enable us to create sufficient XML representations of our data.

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