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Re: [xml-dev] [Summary] Should Subject Matter Experts Determine XML Data Implementations?

These are good points.  Echoing a number of people on this thread, you  
need a mix of talents (and as much talent as you can get!).  For  
example, going back to Roger's original "two camps" of SMEs and  
technology experts, a question that immediately occurred to me was  
which of those two camps was likely to contribute to the "Book Data  
Specification" the information that there was a conceptual model  
called the "Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records" (see,  
e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRBR) that might have some helpful  
ideas (for one thing, it distinguishes the different meanings of  
"book" Michael mentioned).  More than likely, that information would  
come from someone to some extent in both camps (or at least, enough of  
a techie to know that there are specs like this in various fields that  
have been developed with cooperation from both camps).


PS:  Ah yes, "comprised" vs. "composed".  My father *was* a copy  
editor, so I've been well-drilled in that one.  As you can see though,  
he didn't have as much success curing me of extra-long sentences.

On Oct 6, 2008, at 1:29 PM, Michael Kay wrote:

>> Suppose I interview several Book SMEs. They tell me that a
>> Book is comprised of a Title, Author, Date, ISBN, and Publisher.
> They are very likely to tell you that, and they are very likely to  
> be wrong.
> Your SMEs (I hate that abbreviation) are almost certainly using words
> ambiguously, and it's your job to sort out what they mean. They will  
> happily
> say one minute "We published 15 books last year" and a couple of  
> minutes
> later "We have 20,000 books in the warehouse". If the context  
> doesn't make
> it clear, they will refer to the first kind of book as a "title",  
> but they
> will never say "the title of this title is 'Data Analysis'". And  
> they won't
> tell you until you ask that the book/title will acquire a second  
> ISBN when
> the paperback edition comes out.
> In short, unless you are unusually lucky, your SMEs will use the  
> terms of
> their trade very casually without ever having realised that they are  
> using
> the same word to mean several different things, and different words  
> to mean
> the same thing.
> (Incidentally, the one thing they probably won't tell you is that a  
> book "is
> comprised of" anything. They may use terms like "book" and "title"  
> very
> freely, but they will use them gramatically. Most of them have  
> worked with
> copy-editors.)
> This isn't specific to your example. Try asking different people in an
> airline what the word "flight" means.
> Michael Kay
> http://www.saxonica.com/

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