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   Reference Model

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  • From: "James K. Tauber" <jtauber@jtauber.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 03:56:46 +0800

Has anyone developed (or is anyone developing) a reference model for
document-based knowledge/information interchange (with a generic markup

I've recently taken up a teaching and research position at Curtin Business
School and my research focus is going to be (you guessed it) XML. Initial
work will feed a PhD thesis I hope to be starting before the end of the

At least as part of my initial research, I'd like to develop a reference
model (and/or assess existing models) inspired by number conversations I've
been having with people, partly on this list, but which actually started at
Sun Labs East early 1996.

A few weeks ago I wrote:

> Off the top of my head (thinking aloud as always), these are
> the sorts of things one might want to say about the class of things (say
> labelled FOO.
> 1. what FOOs can contain
> 2. where FOOs can be
> 3. what FOOs look like when presented
> 4. what FOOs do when the user does something
> 5. what an application is to do when it gets a FOO.
> 6. what other labels people use for FOOs.
> 7. what people mean by FOO.
> I would tend to use 'syntax' for 1 and 2, 'presentation' or
> 'style' for 3, 'behaviour' for 4, 'action' for 5, and 'semantics' for 6
> 7. To avoid 'semantics', I might use 'thesaurus' in the context of 6 and
> 'meaning' for 7.

To which PMR replied (amongst other things):

> I think this is worth pursuing. Is it worth trying to get a small, tight
> list here?

[As far as I know, the thread wasn't continued.]

Furthermore, in a post earlier the same day I used the following
OSI-inspired models:

> In normal publishing:
> AUTHOR CONCEPT           [semantics]
>  --presentation-->
>   DOCUMENT               [presentation]
>    --interpretation-->
>     READER CONCEPT       [semantics]
> With generic markup:
> AUTHOR CONCEPT             [semantics]
>  --markup-->
>   XML DOCUMENT             [syntax]
>    --stylesheet-->
>     DOCUMENT               [presentation]
>      --interpretation-->
>       READER CONCEPT       [semantics]
> Now, where a machine (or a human, for that matter) directly reads the XML
documents we have:
> AUTHOR CONCEPT             [semantics]
>  --markup-->
>   XML DOCUMENT             [syntax]
>    --processing-->
>     MACHINE ACTION         [?semantics]
> [of course, machines can generate the documents too, a case I haven't
considered in the above > diagrams]

All my thinking on this kind of thing has been ad hoc to date. I'm keen to
tie the ideas into existing literature and dialogue with the many wonderful
brains on this list (although, not necessarily ON this list).



James Tauber / jtauber@jtauber.com      http://www.jtauber.com/
Lecturer and Associate Researcher
Electronic Commerce Network             ( http://www.xmlinfo.com/
Curtin Business School                  ( http://www.xmlsoftware.com/
Perth, Western Australia                ( http://www.schema.net/

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