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   Re: [xml-dev] Xml is _not_ self describing

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On Tuesday 15 January 2002 03:10 pm, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> Documents written in natural languages have meaning even if you
> don't speak those languages. 

The whole point though is that without some means for interpretation, 
you cannot discern the meaning. You need a Rosetta stone... something 
that maps the set of symbols onto concepts you understand. Without the 
mapping (and I very much doubt there is a complete mapping, even 
between individuals of the same demographic background), you're lost.

An example of this is ZX-80 hexdumps. At one point in my life, I could 
read them quite fluently (no longer thank goodness), but to other 
people they are *meaningless*. Even with a mapping to assembler, or C, 
or Java, or <whatever>, they are meaningless to a large number of 
people. Another example is humor: I can't tell you how many times I've 
tried to translate humor, and failed, because the concepts don't map 
(so now I've become a humorless soul ;-))

At the XML level, the tags, attributes, and even the characters only 
have meaning if they are interpreted (mapped onto my concept space). 
This is kind of like the traditional progression from data to wisdom.


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