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You refer, I assume, to the following, from XSLT 1.0:

"When the source tree is created by parsing a well-formed XML document,
the root node of the source tree will automatically satisfy the normal
restrictions of having no text node children and exactly one element
child. When the source tree is created in some other way, for example by
using the DOM, the usual restrictions are relaxed for the source tree as
for the result tree."

I must say I think this is rather thin ice as it stands now.  I've always
found this clause in the XSLT spec a bit baffling.  Since there is no
normalized mapping from the DOM to the XPath  data model, the above can
mean quite different things on different conforming processors.

For instance, if implementor A gets a clever thought and allows processor
A to accept a DOM document fragment of elements as a root node according
to  the above, and implementor B decides instead that all text nodes and
all  elements except for the first in a doc frag be ignored, both would be
good citizens by the spec, but of course the processors could render quite
different results.

Not a problem as far as XSLT qua XSLT.  But once you rely on this property
for standardized  treatment of a grove (term loosely used), which is what
it seems your XSLT-base dproposal would do, I think you'd need to have
strict prescription of the mapping  from multiple documents to XSLT source
for this not to be problematic.  Maybe you already do so in your paper,
which would, I think, cover my concerns.

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com
4735 East Walnut St, Ste. C, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
Software-engineering, knowledge-management, XML, CORBA, Linux, Python