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It might be fair to say without regard to technology:
o Schemas are made as context independent as possible
to enable them to be applied in more contexts (they scale)
o Business rules are contexts (semantics don't scale
without force being applied. Use of force is itself,
a context-dependent operation with rules).
Value-focused Thinking methods might be applicable
here. One needs to identify fundamental objectives
that are independent. Dependencies among these
indicate hidden objectives (undiscovered) or that
a means objective (think, sub-goal) has been misapplied
as a fundamental objective.
From: Cox, Bruce [mailto:Bruce.Cox@USPTO.GOV]
Are business rules semantics? I take that question to mean that some
business rules can be fully automated since they are about properties of
data that succumb to, for example, XML Schema data typing, while others
are more problematic and may require methods not easily automated. In
the case of patent document numbers, the goal would be to "ensure shared
data is recognized" and only then processed for the current purpose.
I certainly appreciate the benefit of using DTDs with their lack of
content validation. Without that characteristic, it is unlikely that
the patent offices of the world would have agreed on a common vocabulary
for patent applications and publications. Now that we are on the verge
of exchanging instances internationally, that characteristic may bite us
by impairing interoperability due to significant variances between the
start and end tags for any given element.
Document numbers are a special case, in that they are critical to
establishing the relationship among patents filed and granted in
different countries. Accuracy is sufficiently important to be spending
millions of USD a year to correct bad numbers provided by applicants or
other offices. In this one case, I hope there is some way to express
the validation rules independently of custom code so that we can
describe the rules to each other unambiguously and implement them
With XML Schema data typing, followed by Schematron, what would come
next to cover the residue? I don't think anything to do with document
numbers can't be automatically validated.