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Re: [xml-dev] What is Data?

On Aug 31, 2009, at 1:14 PM, Costello, Roger L. wrote:

>>> My objective is to merely make plain the fundamental ideas
>>> which guide the formation of the science.

That's challenging enough, but more than that, the objective is  
apparently to do so in "a few brief paragraphs".

>> I don't think that's possible.  I strongly suspect that any brief
>> definition will cause more confusion and harm than good.
> What does that say about a field where it is not possible to make  
> plain the fundamental ideas which guide the field?

I suspect it says that the field is like a lot of other fields, like  
medicine, or civil engineering.  Imagine writing the sort of thing  
you've started out saying about data about either of these fields.  Of  
course, you can convey something of the flavor of a field in a few  
*highly general* sentences, but when you start getting into specifics  
(like things are always either attributes or relationships, or what  
things *aren't* data) you're dealing at a level where "making things  
plain" requires more, rather than less, material (for example, are the  
things you're talking about aspects of the data, or of the way we  
think about it?)

> /Roger

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