OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: [xml-dev] Caught napping!

>"W. E. Perry" wrote:
>> The schism in XML practice, and underlying theory, is not so much
>> between the data and document camps as between the text and model
>> viewpoints. That difference resolves to a fundamental understanding
>> of intent. Proponents of the model believe that XML instances are to
>> convey particular semantics, with markup as the tool to circumscribe
>> the most particular definition of expected meaning. The alternative
>> is to believe that the XML instance may, and should, be processed by
>> each recipient to yield the most useful semantic outcome for that
>> recipient on that occasion, regardless of the expectations or intent
>> of the creator of that instance.

Ron Bourret wrote:
>Out of curiousity, how many people think of XML in text terms, not model
>terms? My guess is that even proponents of well-formed XML eventually
>fall into the model camp, but I'm not sure.

>I'm also wondering if there is a difference. The definition of the text
>camp still seems to depend on knowing the document author's intent, even
>if recipient uses the document in a way not foreseen by the author. I
>believe this was John Cowan's point.

As any self respecting archivist will tell you, without understanding the
original context of a document, and its function within that context, it is
impossible, or at least very dangerous, to derive other meaning from the
document. For example, I might study a seventeenth century hearth tax return
in order to learn about household structure in a small Scottish town,
certainly not the use intended by the originator. However without some
understanding of the administrative structure that generated the records,
and the motivations of the data collectors and the data providors, I cannot
even assume that what I mean by household is what the creator of the
document meant by hearth. Interestingly, the study of early Mesopotamian
cultures has to work pretty much the other way round. We have records of
transactions, and from those we are attempting to infer the context in which
they were generated, which is I suppose, one of the reasons why we know so
little. Imagine having to study the late twentieth century if all you had
were some building foundations and millions of EDI messages!

All the best

Mark Seaborne