A methodology for composing well-defined character descriptions.

Paterson, Trevor, Cannon, Alan, Raguenaud, Cedric, Russell, Gordon, Armstrong, Kate E, MacDonald, Sarah M, Pullan, Martin R , Watson, Mark F and Kennedy, Jessie (2003) A methodology for composing well-defined character descriptions. Technical Report. Napier University, Edinburgh.

PDF (Text of Napier University Technical Report)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (287kB)


Taxonomy has been described as “the science of documenting biodiversity”, which involves collecting, naming, describing, identifying and classifying specimens of organisms (Keogh, 1995). Descriptions are the fundamental information units used in the process of constructing classifications and communicating taxonomic concepts. The quality of stored description data is limited by the lack of a formal model and methodology for composing specimen descriptions, and by the absence of an agreed defined terminology. This impedes the communication, interpretation and reuse of original descriptions. This paper describes a novel approach to composing and recording taxonomic descriptions of botanical specimens. An underlying model for creating character descriptions is presented together with a process for creating an ontology of defined terms, which will be used to compose these description elements. It is hoped that these developments will facilitate the unambiguous interpretation of descriptions and enhance the taxonomic process.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biology; Characterisation; Taxonomy; Description; Database; Computer Model; Ontology;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Computing
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 000 Computer science, information & general works > 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 005 Computer programming, programs & data
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
Library of Congress Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Item ID: 3024
Depositing User: Computing Research
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2009 12:48
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2012 11:38

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Edinburgh Napier University is a registered Scottish charity. Registration number SC018373