Standards Mapping Task Group


Image by Conny Schneider

Standards Mapping Task Group Charter

A Task Group of Technical Architecture Group (TAG)

1. Convenor

  • David Fichtmueller (

2. Core Members

  • Holly Little
  • Jutta Buschbom
  • Jason Best
  • Ben Norton
  • Kit Lewers
  • Stan Blum
  • Sam Leeflang
  • Ana Niño
  • Hanna Koivula

3. Motivation

TDWG offers a large variety of standards, covering many aspects of geo- and biodiversity sciences. Each standard has its own purpose and area of focus, but there are always conceptual overlaps between them. Being able to systematically express and document those overlaps in the form of mappings is important for their interoperability, e.g., when merging data from different sources given in different standards. Mappings also help people who are familiar with one standard to better understand other standards with which they are less accustomed.

However additional efforts are needed to better integrate mappings into the TDWG process and to provide a more comprehensive view of the relationships between the standards. Many standards lack mappings despite a conceptual overlap with others or the mappings that do exist are incomplete, inconsistently specified, and hard to find.

4. Goals, Outputs, and Outcomes

The tasks of this task group can be grouped into three steps that correspond to the envisioned mappings process. At first mappings are created by the standard creators, then they are expressed in a common format and based on this they can be documented on the TDWG website. The order of the tasks and deliverables described here does not follow these three steps in order, as we consider the decision on a unified way to express mappings as the first and most important step, as both the task relating to the mapping creation and the mapping documentation depend on that outcome.

Figure 1: The three steps of the mapping process, with the deliverables (D1-D7) associated with them.

Task 1: Assessment of current mappings in TDWG

The group will assess which TDWG standards currently provide mappings to other standards (both within TDWG or external) and how those mappings are expressed.

Deliverable 1: A report of the current state of TDWG mappings.

Task 2: Overview of mapping practices

The group will assess common ways of expressing mappings (both within TDWG and external ones) and review their advantages and disadvantages.

Deliverable 2: A report on common mapping practices. (depends on Deliverable 1)

Task 3: Recommendations for the TAG

The group will create recommendations for the TAG on how TDWG standards should document their existing mappings, both in terms of human readability and machine readability. Even if different standards require different ways of expressing the mappings, their integration into the standards pages should be comparable.

Deliverable 3: A recommendation report to the TAG that selects one or more mapping standards that should be the advised way to express mappings within TDWG. (depends on Deliverable 2)

Deliverable 4: A recommendation report to the TAG on how mappings should be expressed on the TDWG website for findability and human readability. (depends on Deliverable 3)

Task 4: Support for standard creators

The group will support standard creators and maintainers to create mappings by giving guidelines and recommending tools and/or workflows on how to create and use mappings.

Deliverable 5: A support document for standard creators on how to create mappings based on the recommendations from Deliverable 3, including examples or links to existing mappings that use particular features.

Deliverable 6: A guideline to decide on cases if a new term for a new standard should be created and mapped to existing similar terms or an existing term should be borrowed from the external standard.

Deliverable 7: A list of recommended tools or workflows in the Github repository of the task group, with short descriptions and links to external resources. (depends on Deliverable 3)

5. Strategy

  • The group will meet every couple of months in a dedicated virtual meeting or if applicable during in person events.

  • One meeting should be held during workshop weeks for interest group and task groups hosted by TDWG

  • To distribute the load of organizing those meetings, the tasks related to running the meetings (setting up a doodle (or similar), sending invitations & reminders, setting up the Zoom room (or similar), creating the agenda, moderating the call, taking notes and creating the minutes afterwards) do not fall with the conveners, instead at the end of each meeting one group member will volunteer to host the next meeting.

  • During the meetings, the group will break tasks into subtasks, define intermediate steps, assign responsibilities and follow up on previous steps. It can adjust and extend the task and deliverables outlined in paragraph 4, if the need arises.

  • The work of this group (as with most TDWG groups) is open by default. Outputs (such as minutes from the meetings, deliverables, etc.) will be published in the Github repository of the group under the TDWG organizational account. The ongoing work on the different tasks will also be made available there.

  • Subtasks and their related communication will be organized using the Github issue tracker. The issue tracker will also be used to announce meetings and to answer questions or provide support for people that are not part of the task group.

  • The alternative channel of communication outside of the Github issues and the virtual meetings will be the discussion channel #mappings-between-standards in the TDWG slack space.

  • As by the TDWG default, all the outputs of this group will be licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY license (or alternatively under Creative Commons CC-0 if the group decides to do so). A contributors file in the Github repository will list all the people who have contributed to the outcome of this group and for specific outputs such as reports an authors/contributors list will list the people who worked on that specific output. Suggested citations for the outputs of this group will give people using, referencing or citing them an easy way to acknowledge the people who contributed in a way that follows scientific best practices, even if it is not required by the license, as would be the case with CC-0.

6. Becoming Involved

  • Join the discussion channel #mappings-between-standards in the TDWG slack space, which is where upcoming meetings will be announced and discussions of the topic and work take place.

  • Anybody who is interested in the topic is invited to participate and come to the meetings. Experience with expressing standard mappings in various formats is highly welcome. This could also include one-time appearances in the meetings to introduce a particular mapping approach or to showcase how a particular TDWG standard handles mapping.

  • E-mail the conveners for questions or ideas that you don’t want to discuss in the slack channel.

  • Subscribe to the Github repository of the group, to be updated about ongoing work, upcoming meetings and issues.

  • Volunteer to organize an upcoming meeting: setting up a doodle (or similar), send invitations & reminders, set up the Zoom room (or similar), create the agenda, moderate the call, take notes and create the minutes afterwards. All of this can be done without much knowledge about the topic of standards mapping.

7. History/Context

8. Summary

  • The Standards Mapping Task Group will assess the current landscape of mappings for TDWG standards and review common ways of expressing mappings, it will recommend one or more of those ways to the TDWG Technical Architecture Group (TAG) to be adopted as the TDWG recommendation for expressing mappings. The group will support standard authors to express their mappings in the recommended way and recommend how the mappings should be documented on the TDWG website to be easily found, read and understood by users.

9. Resources