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RE: [xml-dev] XPointer is dead. What about XLink?

-----Original Message-----
From: W. Hugh Chatfield I.S.P. [mailto:csi2000@urbanmarket.com] 
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:19 PM
To: 'Kurt Cagle'; 'Michael Kay'; 'Len Bullard'
Cc: 'Louis Matherne'; xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: RE: [xml-dev] XPointer is dead. What about XLink?

Quoting Len Bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>:

> Those technologies don't get traction I think because for most common
practice uses of XML they aren't that useful.   Most useful related office
data is stored relationally. 

>I seem to recall a report (can't find the link to it) by a major consulting
>firm that found that most of the useful data in a corporation is not the
>"IT based applications (relational)" but documents (mail, manuals,
>policies, procedures, product documentation.... on and on). 

For the slow-moving legal information used as governance, that is true.
However, in real time that kind of information is seldom consulted.  It is
delivered.  The information being tracked that is important for fast
accurate retrieval is economic:  schedules, units, maps, contacts,
resources, etc.

>If you need a doc of links, you usually have a table of contents or the
reverse index which is fine because those are where some of the ideas in
XPointer and XLInk originate as well as glosses/annotations. 

>table of content - isn't that typically for a single document? - maybe
>reverse index might be more appropriate for cross document reference - but
>it doesn't contain any intelligence. 

In a linked system, the singularity of a document is purely a construct for
the reader in one point of view and a measure of information relatedness in
another, coupling strength or roughly how often do these names become close
neighbors in semantic or physical space.

Linked hierarchies are just linked hierarchies.  How you package that is du

>Very complex abstractions of semantically loaded data can be fascinating to
think about, but what practical desktop uses are made of them?  I'm not
saying they don't exist, but where they exist in the information ecosystem,
what other systems are their dependent neighbors?

>Humans read the stuff.   Documents work.   As a result, the most frequent
user of the system doesn't use XPointer or XLink.  They don't care.   No
care: no market. 

>Bob Ducharme [http://www.xml.com/pub/a/98/07/xlink/index.html] stated that
>the links could be more valuable than the information they link.   I think
>this is so.  He wrote, "Sometimes a link has more value than the
>information it links. How? A link is more than an instruction to jump from
>a piece of text to another document; it's the identification of a
>relationship between two (or more) pieces of information".  

Because the pre-organization is entropy-depleting. At the point of use in
time the energy required to determine, locate and decipher the information
most efficient at that space/time use is reduced by the prepackaged
information.  A document is a way to beat the devil.

>The critical thing here to understand is that the relationship cannot
>typically be deduced from the data itself. The relationship usually
>?originates in the brain of a human. 

Yes. Pre-chewed. We are an udderly linguistic species.

> but it is the added intelligence of the author - the relationship and
>relevance of the link that adds value. 

It is the power of the where clause.

Thanks for the sprech!


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