Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dublin Core for Taxa

I recently wrote here that TaxonConcept will soon offer its metadata in TCS (Taxon Concept Schema) format to improve data exchange and interoperability with other groups. As the planned exchange interface will be a Open Archives (OAI) provider, we also have to deliver our data in Dublin Core (DC) format.
This brought up the problem how taxonomic data should be encoded in DC, which is mainly designed for document, electronic ressources and similar entities.
I had a short discussion with some of the members of the TDWG GUID list and decided to treat taxa similar to museum objects. For physical objects DC fields creator and date should contain e.g.the artist's name and date of creation instead of the name of the creator and publishing date of the electronic metadata representation. Therefore, I decided to use the creator tag for the taxon author, the date field as the date of description of the taxon and the title field for the taxon name. To describe the classification of a taxon I'll use the subject tag. Further, the relation tag will be used to handle the information TaxonConcepts stores from published synonymy lists.
An example:

<oai_dc:dc xsi:schemaLocation="">
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License
<dc:type>Taxon Concept</dc:type>
<dc:title>Eoglobigerina edita</dc:title>
<dc:creator>Subbotina, N.N.</dc:creator>
<dc:relation>Globigerina edita Subbotina 1953</dc:relation>
<dc:relation>Globorotalia (Globorotalia) edita Subbotina 1953</dc:relation>
<dc:relation>Eoglobigerina edita edita Subbotina 1953</dc:relation>
<dc:relation>Globigerina edita var. polycamera Khalilov 1956</dc:relation>
<dc:relation>Eoglobigerina edita polycamera Khalilov 1956</dc:relation>
Globigerina (Eoglobigerina) hemisphaerica Morozova 1961
Globigerina (Eoglobigerina) tetragona Morozova 1961
Globigerina (Eoglobigerina) pentagona Morozova 1961
Globigerina (Eoglobigerina) theodosica Morozova 1961
<dc:relation>Globanomalina pentagona Morozova 1961</dc:relation>
<dc:subject>Eoglobigerina edita</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Acarinina nitida</dc:subject>

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