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[CF-metadata] what standard names are for

From: Jonathan Gregory <j.m.gregory>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 21:38:27 +0100

Dear Bryan

I'm replying in a different thread so as not to confuse the one on SST names.

> There is no
> question in my mind that if a large community already uses a specific
> vocabulary term, then as long as it is reasonable (in some sense to be
> agreed) and doesn't CONFLICT with other usage, our default position should be
> to use that vocabulary identifier, but make damn sure the definition
> encompasses all possible users ... (as opposed to the name itself satisfying
> all possible users).
> I would argue for sea_foundation_temperature on the fact
> that usage should trump possible futures (which is one of the key tenets of
> CF).

I suppose it does depend on what you mean by "reasonable" :-). I agree that
what is required now is a more important consideration than future needs; yes,
that is one of our principles. But another one is that CF metadata should be
self-describing. I think that standard names are something between technical
terms, and the definitions of those terms. I don't think it is sufficient for
a term to be in use for it to be adopted as a standard name, even if it does
not conflict, because it may not be self-explanatory to the wider community of
people who might use the dataset. Of course, the users could always look up the
definitions, but they might not know where to find them, or they might be lazy.
We should minimise the need to look things up. That's a reason for not using
codes (like GRIB codes), that likewise depend on external definitions in order
to be understood.

Best wishes

Received on Tue Apr 08 2008 - 14:38:27 BST

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