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RE: [xml-dev] Caught napping!
11/13/01 2:31:58 AM, "Seaborne, Mark" <Mark_Seaborne@stercomm.com> wrote:
>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!
Has anybody else here ever read Robert Nathan's short story "Digging the Weans"?