[OSGeo-Standards] glossary discussion on osgeo-standards ....

Ronald Tse tse at ribose.com
Mon Oct 14 22:47:38 PDT 2019

Hi Cameron,

Thank you for the suggestions! I have updated the proposal to reflect your comments below.

I would be honored to help with terminology management at OSGeo. Can’t speak for Reese but with his leadership in already doing terminology cleanup on Felicity’s sheet, he seems pretty committed already :-)



Recommendations for OSGeo terminology management

1. Establish a terminology management group in OSGeo.

ISO/TC 211, IEC Electropedia and OGC all have one for terminology management. The existence of this group is crucial to the success of the OSGeo terminology database. It will play two essential roles:

a) As the gatekeeper of terms to ensure quality checks of contributions
b) As the seat of central terminology knowledge for alignment of terms and concepts. To facilitate the flow of terminology knowledge to terminology authors and users.

It would be helpful to involve representation from ISO/TC 211 and OGC in this group, in order to leverage their experience in terminology. Such experience will be useful in situations such as alerting on cross-organization alignment of concepts or term duplication.

An email list shall be setup for this group for internal communication.

2. Establish a terms of reference for terminology management.

For the terminology management group, a terms of reference should be produced so that the steps for approval and data quality requirements are clear. This should be openly shared with contributors so they are clear on acceptance criteria.

Contributors may propose changes to the terminology database at any time. The terminology management group shall discuss and approve or disapprove of the proposal within a reasonable timeframe. This practice is in-line with the open source, change-based, rapid iteration mantra, similar to OpenSSL.

For releases, the group shall convene periodically, such as every 4-6 months, to discuss previously decided proposals, governance or technical issues related to terminology management.

The method of submitting change requests shall also be determined and announced so that contributors understand the necessary processes and timeline.

3. Establish an online terminology database presence.

Terminology isn’t useful until people use them, which means people need to first know they exist and what they mean. Geolexica is an initiative that currently serves ISO/TC 211’s terminology management group in making its multi-lingual geographic information terminology available on the internet (https://www.geolexica.org). We propose to use https://osgeo.geolexica.org/ to serve OSGeo in managing its terminology database. Geolexica not only serves human-readable concepts and terms, but also serves in machine-readable JSON, allowing APIs to directly consume the content.

The structure of Geolexica is designed for efficiency with streamlined management and operations. Terms are stored in structured data (YAML) files, and are directly deployable to the website. The website operates according to best practices, and is served as a static website with dynamic search functionality. Security and performance have always been key considerations.

For terms that originate from other authoritative terminology databases, such as those from ISO or OGC, a linkage shall be established from the OSGeo terminology database back to the source.

4. Use an issue tracker with source code management functionality as an open communication platform (e.g. GitHub).

The issue tracker is used to perform two-way communication between OSGeo members and the contributors. This requires every contributor to at least have an account, which helps minimize spam. The source code management functionality is used to manage terminology data in a machine-useable way.

There are generally two types of contributors:

a) those who suggest changes via textual description, and
b) those who suggest changes but can also format the desired content in the data format used by the terminology database.

People can easily help out with the former in formatting the changes into a proper data structure change. This allows the terminology management group to directly approve, merge and deploy the proposed term modifications (and creations, deletions), all made effective with a single click.

5. Allow easy feedback from terminology users.

To minimize friction in the feedback process, for every term offered in the OSGeo terminology pages we can offer a “propose new term” and “propose changes to this term" buttons. This allows user to directly go to the issue platform (e.g. GitHub) to make the suggested changes.

A “contributors guide” document will greatly help these people make the proper suggestions and have them formatted correctly.

6. Initial load and data cleanup.

The initial load of the terms will involve a bulk load from the cleaned terms and definitions that Felicity has compiled. Geolexica could easily handle the initial conversion from table format into the desired structured data format.

The cleanup process has already been started by Reese Plews, convenor of the TMG at ISO/TC 211.


Ronald Tse
Ribose Inc.

On Oct 10, 2019, at 3:34 PM, Cameron Shorter <cameron.shorter at gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Ron,

I really like your proposal. It looks very practical, should address quality requirements, and should be relatively light weight to manage. Some comments/suggestions:

* You might want to mention the approach to your first load of terms, which probably should involve a bulk load from a derivative of the terms that Felicity has compiled.

* I suggest we set up an email list to discuss terms. OSGeo can provide that for us, and I can coordinate that, once we have agreed on our approach.

* I suggest that an updating the glossary be tied to a periodic event, at least annually. I think we should tie in with the OSGeoLive annual build cycle for this.

* You haven't mentioned https://osgeo.geolexica.org/ in your description. I assume that would be part of the solution? If so, I suggest mentioning it.

* Another project I'm helping start up is https://thegooddocsproject.dev/ (Writing templates to make good docs for open source projects). I expect that the solution you are proposing would be valuable for a wide variety of domains, and should be captured as best practices in TheGoodDocsProject. At some point in the future, I'm hoping that you might provide a generic version of your suggestions for others to follow too.

Feel free to add your ideas below into the wiki at: https://trac.osgeo.org/osgeolive/wiki/Glossary%20terms

(Maybe add "DRAFT" at the top, until we have the process set up.)

* Ron and Reese, I'm hoping that you both will continue to provide the leadership and stewardship of the community as it grows? Your advice has been great to date.

Warm regards, Cameron

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