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   RE: [xml-dev] Is an element's name metadata?

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IMO, because field-names (column names) in a relational database are
referred to as meta-data along with the rest of the database schema, XML
element names, and the schema/DTD are likewise meta-data relative to the
data in the element.  Clearly, "meta" is a recursive concept.  As they said
on Broadway, "Anything you can do I can do meta!"....:)

-Allen Razdow

-----Original Message-----
From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) [mailto:clbullar@ingr.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 2:00 PM
To: 'Chris Wilper'; Gustaf Liljegren; xml-dev@lists.xml.org

The question is as Chris shows, in the view 
set by the relationship.  In

<reporter>John Smith</reporter>

it is a fair assumption that John Smith 
IS-A reporter; therefore, the data in 
the tag (the element name) is about the 
content.  Some will agree that is metadata 
(data about data).  However given

<li number="1.">John Smith</li>
<li number="3.">Georgiana Geyer</li>

some will agree that the data in the 
tag is not about the content, or if so, 
has to be gotten from documentation.
The role depends on the relationship provided 
or enforced by the processor.

In other words, perhaps that is bad HTML. AN 
HTML processor ignores the attribute and enforces 
the rendering relationship (IS-A member of a list).
On the other hand, in a different processor 
would imply that the relationship has a different 
meaning.  Given a context and different proceessor

   <li number="1.">John Smith</li>
   <li number="3.">Georgiana Geyer</li>

could mean something different and the outer 
context setting tag (rankOfImportance) is 

That would be context as you say, but it 
is the processor, automated or human, that 
understands and enforces the relationship.

XML is deliberately agnostic about such issues. 
That is why I say, "XML Doesn't Know; so XML 
Doesn't Care.  You do."


From: Chris Wilper [mailto:cwilper@cs.cornell.edu]

I usually avoid the distinction unless forced
otherwise by a tool or framework, because it often
limits people's imagined use of information.

XML itself says nothing about this, which is good IMO.
What you describe in your second scenario looks a bit like 
RDF-XML... where the structure of the data has
about-ness implications.

- Chris

From: Gustaf Liljegren [mailto:gustaf.liljegren@bredband.net]

I've heard some people say that the markup is by itself metadata, that an
element's name is metadata, because it describes the element's content:

<reporter>    <-- This is metadata
John Smith    <-- This is data

Isn't this wrong? Comparing to what I learned from Dublin Core, metadata is
data too. It's not just the name of a property. I'd say it's the element's
context that decides whether <reporter> is a data or a metadata element.

<reporter>    <-- This is just the name of a property
John Smith    <-- This may be metadata, depending on the element's context

Is this the right way to think about metadata in XML?

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