[SEEK-Taxon] Assertions

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Aug 12 19:06:56 PDT 2004

Greetings all,

I'm sorry I missed the last conference call -- I was up late the night
before, and a stampede of elephants in my bedroom (much less my alarm clock)
wouldn't have gotten me out of bet that early.....

I've seen the emails RE the proposed TDWG transfer schema, but haven't yet
had a chance to study them in detail.  However, James Ytow just pointed out
to me that it includes the term "Assertion", but defined differently from
how it is defined in the Taxonomer data model
(http://www.phyloinformatics.org/pdf/1.pdf) -- where it is the core central
element of the taxonomic model.  In Taxonomer, the "Assertion" instance is
the intersection of a Name and a Reference -- an assertion about the
nomenclatural status of a name, and a "handle" to the implied concept.  In
the proposed transfer schema, it is used as a 3rd-party assertion about the
relationships between two concepts.  In other words, in Taxonomer it
represents a handle to a concept, whereas in the transfer schema it is used
for a mapping between two existing concepts.

My concern is that discussions about these data models and schemas are
already confusing enough with such homonymous words as "class", "concept",
"reference", etc. -- that we probably want to avoid further confusion by
creating new homonyms.  I'm not possesive of the term "Assertion" -- I've
often thought that I probably should have used "PotentialTaxon" or
"PotentialConcept" or "NameReference" or something else a little more
explicit, and I wouldn't mind changing it in my model.  Unfortunately, I've
already published it as "Assertion", and it's hard for me to retract that
definition now.

Does anyone else have similar concerns? As I said, I'd sooner change the
term I use in the Taxonomer model to something else, than be faced with
speaking of "Assertion sensu Taxonomer" vs. "Assertion sensu TOC", etc. --
so if "Assertion" is really the best term in the TOC context, I'll do
whatever I can to retract my use of "Assertion" in Taxonomer.  Or, if
another term can be used in the TOC context, that would make my life a bit

I've got a very busy week ahead of me, so I'm not sure how much time I'll
have to digest the TCS documentation -- but as soon as I get a chance, I'll
go over it in detail and provide any feedback I might have.


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