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- From: Todd Fahrner <email@example.com>
- To: len bullard <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Michael Leventhal <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 22:17:27 -0700
At 20:42 -0500 5.29.97, len bullard wrote:
> Here is another perspective. What if DTDs came into
> being as a result of measurement of frequency and
> occurrence rather than from design and imposition?
> Note I am not talking about DTDs generated by inducing
> markup, but DTDs created as tags are generated by
> users in the course of natural tagging. Consider
> the habits borne of the HTML users who began to
> unwittingly use content tagging styles almost as
> jokes to delineate thoughts in emails, etc.
> It is interesting to speculate what the place of
> genetic DTDs such as could be created from these
> would have since in some ways the resemble a
> natural language emerging from an artificial language
Fascinating. A year from now, you could set a spider to identify patterns
of class markup on HTML elements on the Web, and upon semantic analysis
either fold these as elements into an XML version of HTML, or create new
DTDs based on aggregations within narrow subject areas.
Apple's proposal for an extensible metadata format, Meta Content Format
(MCF), expressly passes up SGML with the following explanation:
The main reason for introducing yet another file format
is so that we have an interchange format that is not
beholden to legacy applications that can['t] track the
changes in the expressiveness of MCF. 
If I'm reading correctly, this reasoning may have been valid before XML -
and possibly to some extent even now - but if XML tools develop as a kind
of nursery for "genetic" DTDs, then it will have been rebutted.
The printed page transcends space and time. The printed page, the
infinitude of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.
--El Lissitzky, 1923
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