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   Re: Ownership of Names (was Re: Public identifiers and topic maps)

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  • From: "W. Eliot Kimber" <eliot@dns.isogen.com>
  • To: XML Dev <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 13:56:13 -0500

At 02:44 PM 9/28/98 -0400, John Cowan wrote:
>W. Eliot Kimber wrote:
>> So I maintain my assertion that names, not just name spaces, are ownable
>> things.
>The difficulty is that there are so many names that are public domain;
>their meaning is settled by tacit agreement among the users, not by
>registration.  (This does not mean that the *referent* is necessarily
>in the public domain.)

What's your point? Much software is in the public domain, yet software is
ownable.  Just because names are ownable doesn't mean that all names are

>For example, the name "Spencertown, New York" is not registered anywhere.
>Spencertown is a part of the Town of Austerlitz ("Towns" in New York
>State and New England are roughly what is called "townships" elsewhere
>in the U.S.:  registered land units larger than a county).  But it
>is custom alone that says what is, and what is not, Spencertown.
>Nevertheless, it makes sense as a topic of conversation.  "I am going
>to Spencertown" is intelligible even though Spencertown is not
>subject to precise definition.  How shall we handle names of this sort?

It's intelligible if you know one thing:

1. What the name space context is (towns and townships in New York)

How do we handle that? By establishing a name space context and then
providing services for resolving names in it:

John: I'm going to "Spencertown" today.
Eliot: Oh, what or where is "Spencertown"?
John: It's a little town in New York.
Eliot: Never heard of it. Can you show me where it is on a map?
John: Sure. {Gets out map, shows which Spencertown he means}
Eliot: {Having received resource referenced by John's use of 
       the name "Spencertown"}. Cool, have fun.

This is no different from any other name resolution we do today. There are
no unique problems here.  There are no unique solutions.


<Address HyTime=bibloc>
W. Eliot Kimber, Senior Consulting SGML Engineer
ISOGEN International Corp.
2200 N. Lamar St., Suite 230, Dallas, TX 75202.  214.953.0004

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