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   Re: [xml-dev] Paranoia and Slippery Slopes (was Re: [xml-dev] bohemians,

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"Alaric B. Snell" wrote:

> I think that 'document like structures' needn't be totally isolated from 'data
> like structures'... but I think that document-like should be a subset of
> data-like. "Data" is a very general term for 'information', document is a bit
> more specific.

In the two distinct document-oriented fields of which I have some experience--1)
the processing of such documents as securities orders, conditioned by other such
documents as regulatory reporting requirements, and  2) the analysis of (mostly
ancient) texts, chiefly formulaic and often orally composed--document could never
be usefully understood as a subset of data. Documents in my experience are a
precursor to data--data being one specific elaboration of
semantics--information--from a particular process applied on a particular
occasion to a particular document.

> Certainly it's quite simple on an abstract level; the DOM defines a document
> model within a strongly typed system. The
> debate is about the syntax rather than the theory, a nice way of writing it.

It is simple only if you begin with the abstract model. But syntax parsing,
document processing and textual exegesis begin with a concrete instance. A DOM or
any other model, if you choose to construct one, is simply an inference--one of
many possible--from the text. Of for consistency we might say that a DOM is data,
rendered in one possible form by the operation of a particular process against a
document on a particular occasion.

In sum, I am afraid your premises fall well short of embracing even the
particular stuff that I work with, let alone providing an abstract framework for
understanding it as a subset of your concept of data.


Walter Perry


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