Lexicon Committee

From OSGeo
Revision as of 03:28, 22 October 2019 by Tc211 tmg (talk | contribs) (→‎Purpose)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Lexicon committee is responsible for coordinating official definitions for terminology used within the OSGeo context. The committee is drawn from the OSGeo, OGC and ISO communities and is based on merit and interest.

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


The Lexicon committee plays 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.

The committee involves individual representation from external groups including ISO/TC 211 and OGC in order to leverage their experience in terminology, which is useful in situations such as alerting on cross-organization alignment of concepts or term duplication.


Committee members

TBD: Once formed, the following people have volunteered to join this committee:

OSGEO Representation

  • Cameron Shorter
  • Felicity Brand (proposed)

Outside Representation (Non-OSGEO)

  • Ronald Tse (TC?/Ribose Inc.)
  • Reese Plews (ISO/TC211, TMG)
  • ... others welcomed

Selection of new members is determined by committee member vote. Committee members may retire any time. If a committee member becomes inactive for many months they may be invited to retire, and if unresponsive they may be removed by the existing committee.


Decisions are based on voting using the following:

  • +1: For
  • +0: Mildly for, but mostly indifferent
  • 0: Indifferent
  • -0: Mildly against, but mostly indifferent
  • -1: Strongly against. This is expected to be accompanied by a reason.

For most decisions, a motion is raised within one of the committee open forums (IRC, email list, etc) and those present vote and decide. Should a decision:

  • Be strategic or impact many within the committee,
  • Or if there be contention in deciding, and after discussion at least one member is still strongly against the motion, by continuing to vote -1,
  • Then the motion should be referred to the committee.

For motions presented to the committee, a motion is considered passed when there are more committee +1 votes than -1 votes, and either all committee members have voted, or 1 week has passed. In the case of a tie, the committee chair shall have 1.5 votes.

Expectations of committee members

  • Contribute to or related activities when the committee is active.
  • Help with whatever dirty work is required to keep the project moving forward.
  • Monitor committee conversations on our email list.

Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the Lexicon Committee describes steps for lexicon approval and data quality requirements. This is openly shared with contributors for transparent 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.

Documenting terms

Process for adding and maintaining terms

  • TBD: Describe a process
  • Anyone can suggest a new term or modify an existing term or its definition.
  • As part of the annual OSGeoLive build process, all existing and proposed new terms will be reviewed, and discussed with proposers.
  • Valid terms will be added to ... (Explain how).
  • They will then be ...

Term data structure

Terms/Concepts are stored in structured data (YAML) files.

TODO: describe Concept YAML structure.

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.

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

Online presence

Terminology isn’t useful until people use them, which means people need to first know they exist and what they mean. The Geolexica initiative has volunteered to setup https://osgeo.geolexica.org/ to serve OSGeo in managing its lexicon database.

Geolexica serves human-readable concepts and terms, as well as machine-readable JSON, allowing APIs to directly consume the content. It 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).

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.

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.

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.