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Re: Fwd: [xml-dev] Not using mixed content? Then don't use XML

On Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM, Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org> wrote:
On Tue, 2013-04-09 at 15:39 -0400, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> On 4/9/13 3:21 PM, John Cowan wrote:
> > When you publish a set of documents, publishing the schema to which you
> > claim they conform is very useful for everyone.  For one thing, it's
> > concrete, testable documentation about what to expect from you.  This is
> > the opposite of the "normal" use of schemas as input validation: here
> > they are serving as *output* validation as well as documentation.
> That qualifies as a neat reversal of polarity.

It's been fairly common in some circles for decades (starting with
SGML). I gave a paper in this area at SGML 96.

One reason is that markup is often used for transcriptions of
already-extant documents, whether cuneiform on fragments of pottery or
printed books from the 1700s or 1800s, or brands on people's rumps :-)

If the DTD or Schema conflicts with what's in the primary text, the
primary text is what's right, not the schema. This is referred to in the
literature as descriptive markup.

Yes, this is all vey relevant for digital preservation, as you hint, Liam, and in case anyone needs further hints towards the literature.  Publishing a schema (for a reasonable definition of "schema" that generally doesn't involve such silly things as int vs long type assertions) in association with a marked-up text is crucial to extending its longevity of interpretation.  We're already losing a tremendous number of digital materials from the early days of digital media because the publishers were not conscious of this, and as the original engineers are lost to circumstances of the hereafter.

Uche Ogbuji                       http://uche.ogbuji.net
Founding Partner, Zepheira        http://zepheira.com

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