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Re: [xml-dev] The year is 2027, and we need to examine archived XML documents from 2007 ...

There are long-term financial instruments (like swaps:  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swap_%28finance%29) which can extend to 30  
years or more.  Many institutions are encoding these using FpML (Financial  
Products Markup Language: http://www.fpml.org/), with their own custom  
extensions, and they will need to be able to access this data in 2037 or  

If XML has been surpassed in popularity by some competing technology by  
2027 or 2037, I suspect that what you will find is that institutions who  
need it will maintain staff who know how to use and run their XML tools,  
just as some now have staff who keep their legacy applications running as  
long as it makes sense to.  Those who don't have the facilities for this  
might choose to translate the information from XML into something else, at  
the cost of extensive checking and testing.  However, they would need to  
do this in collaboration with their trading partners, so that everyone  
agrees that the details of the financial instruments have not been changed  
during the conversion process.

The situation may be different for documents that aren't *live* for 20-30  
years, but which have a small probability of being required in future,  
perhaps for legal reasons.  In those cases, I expect that people would  
either just hand over the documents as-is to some authority, and make it  
their problem, or otherwise find some specialist who can help decode the  
documents.  That said, undocumented XML formats can be untelligible even  
if you can parse and validate them, so it might well be that some  
documents cannot be correctly interpreted.

Each company needs to judge for itself the risks of losing the ability to  
easily read some of its legacy information, versus the costs of  
maintaining that ability.

Cheers, Tony.
Anthony B. Coates
Senior Partner
Miley Watts LLP
Experts In Data
UK: +44 (20) 8816 7700, US: +1 (239) 344 7700
Mobile/Cell: +44 (79) 0543 9026
Data standards participant: genericode, ISO 20022 (ISO 15022 XML),  

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