[CF-metadata] CF standard names : request for statement of the issues

John Graybeal graybeal at mbari.org
Tue Nov 11 10:06:23 MST 2008

On Nov 10, 2008, at 12:02 PM, John Caron wrote:
> You are invited to send input to this email group, ideally as  
> concisely as possible

Well, each bullet is concise, anyway.  CF is a lot of things.

If you just want to see what the recommended priorities are, skip to  
sections 5 and 6.

1. CF standard names are:
  A- a reasonably concise mediation between user needs for meaningful  
terms, and interoperability requirements for consistent terms
  B- a steadily growing and improving repository of concepts and  
categories from the environmental science community
  C- a mechanism for deriving consistent understanding of scientific  
concepts (which then is captured in the names, often)
  D- increasingly a mechanism to reach understanding of engineering  
and operation concepts
  E- the only reasonably decent controlled list of parameter names  
(community-run using open, visible processes, well-managed  
technically,  thoughtfully administered, and moderately wide and deep  
in their coverage)
  F- inclusive of a large number of categories that can be used to  
classify the concepts

2. CF standard name creation processes are:
  A- wonderfully well-thought-out, meaning they work pretty well to  
achieve the complex goals they target
  B- effectively open, transparent, and accessible, even to new  
participants (except for learning curve)
  C- executed with the necessary attention to detail
  D- reasonably well documented
  E- as short as they can be given the goals and community scale

The following are observations, not criticisms; in many cases these  
are good or necessary things. (In other cases they are not fixable  
even if that is desirable.)

3. CF standard names are not (starred items are recommended in section  
  A- semantically perfect in their construction (different words can  
mean the same thing)
  B - syntactically perfect in their construction (one can't always  
parse meaning out of the name's construction)
  C- representative of everything you might want to know about a  
  D* covering a particularly large percentage of the needed concepts
  E* covering a significant percentage of the possible concepts
  F- modularized into all the possible components necessary to  
distinguish one term from another
  G* particularly graceful at dealing with engineering terms
  H* independent of the content/metadata specification which they target
  I* crystal clear about the relationship between the standard names  
and other elements of the CF specification
  J* free of bias (in coverage, and sometimes in meaning) due to their  
communities of origin
  K* resolvable via URIs (except possibly through the BODC vocab  
  L* accessible as ontology terms (e.g, for mapping by other systems)
  M* described by an ontology (to establish the relationship among the  
standard names)

4. CF standard name creation processes are not (starred items are  
recomended in section 6):
  A* particularly fast (at the community stage)
  B* particularly easy (to understand the system and come up with the  
name in the first place)
  C* able to handle the large number of standard names we could inject  
into the system manually
  D* anywhere near able to handle the larger number of standard names  
that could be generated automatically or systematically
  E* crystal clear about what kinds of things are, and are not,  
welcome or useful as standard names
  F- an attempt to develop a comprehensive system for naming concepts
  G- until now, addressing the priorities of items in III and IV --  
good show!

The priorities for CF are very much a matter of choosing which things  
CF wants to be.  The answers below represent my ideal scenario for CF,  
given what I think the oceanographic community needs and where CF is  
now. Most important priorities come first in each list.  If I don't  
list something from lists 3 and 4, that means it isn't a significant  
problem in my mind.

5. CF standard names should be addressing/focusing on solutions to:
  A-  3K and 3L (URIs, ontology terms) -- this is happening by  
necessity via other services, but CF needs to buy in
  B-  3D and 3E (increased coverage) -- make it possible to cover more  
terms more easily (like 3G, engineering terms, if CF wants to)
  C-  3J (decreasing bias) -- but this is already happening
  D-  3H and 3I (decouple names from spec) -- make CF standard names  
usable in all content standards, not just CF (possible?)
  E-  3M (relate terms in ontology) -- this is a nicety for the  
semantic web, but not critical in the short term for CF users

6. CF standard name processes should be addressing/focusing on  
solutions to:
  A-  4B and 4E (easier, clearer for users) -- make the user  
experience a welcoming one
  B-  4C, if not also 4D; implies 4A also (faster) -- somehow find a  
way to accept more names more quickly with less effort


On Nov 10, 2008, at 12:02 PM, John Caron wrote:

> The CF Conventions committee is looking to clarify the issues  
> surrounding CF standard names and the process for creating them.   
> There are a number of proposals and discussions for changing or  
> augmenting standard names, and not yet much consensus on what  
> direction to take.
> We'd like to come up with a clear statement of what standard names  
> are (or should be), and what are the problems and issues that we  
> should be focusing on next.
> You are invited to send input to this email group, ideally as  
> concisely as possible. You are welcome to add your ideas of possible  
> solutions, but it would be helpful to keep those separate for now.
> The CF Conventions committee will attempt to capture some kind of  
> consensus on what the issues are, which may help clarify what  
> solutions are possible and what still needs to be explored.
> Thanks!
> _______________________________________________
> CF-metadata mailing list
> CF-metadata at cgd.ucar.edu
> http://mailman.cgd.ucar.edu/mailman/listinfo/cf-metadata


John Graybeal   <mailto:graybeal at mbari.org>  -- 831-775-1956
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Metadata Interoperability Project: http://marinemetadata.org

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