W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > December 1996

Re: unmarked linkend awareness by XML engines

From: Steven R. Newcomb <srn@techno.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 17:01:23 -0500
Message-Id: <199612292201.RAA09487@bruno.techno.com>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@www10.w3.org
(Dave Durand:)

>    "Indicating" [a BOS] is one thing, but enforcement is
> another. ... Enforcement is pointless, because intentionally
> non-conformant clients can violate any such restriction anyway.

Right.  But indicating is useful.

> And annotations are so useful and fundamental, that we cannot create
> any credible linking system that does not enable their creation.

(Note that annotations of read-only documents is something HTML can't
do.)

>    If you want a copyright notice for a document delivered over the
> web, you had better put it in the document, as the first text,
> because the network infrastructure is too frail for you to ensure
> that your readers will see it if it's anywhere else.

Hmmmm.  The ownership of information frequently changes hands, and the
licensing arrangements surrounding many information assets also change
frequently; even daily.  I don't think it's desirable to require
valuable information assets to be edited each time that happens.  Much
too dangerous, especially if human lives depend on the accuracy of
their content.

Much better to provide a session-start document instead that contains
the copyright and license information, and that links to the valuable
asset.  The user naturally and normally starts the session by entering
the session-start document, because that's the only way documented by
the provider.  (Similarly, in books, one knows that the natural and
normal procedure is to start at the upper left hand corner of page one
and read forwards, but nothing prevents you from starting somewhere in
the middle and reading backwards if you prefer.)  By means of a
hyperlink, the session start document automagically traverses the user
to the valuable read-only asset.  Upon arrival at the read-only asset,
the BOS is still pretty much guaranteed to include the session-start
document; otherwise, the user couldn't have arrived at the read-only
asset.  If the user is running an application which is like any
typical Web browser, the session-start document is still in a local
cache, so the frailty of the Web network is not even an issue.  The
session-start document contains links which effectively place one or
more hot links at various points in the read-only asset back to the
session-start document.  When traversed, those hot links can take the
user to the copyright notice or the license agreement, or whatever.
The valuable read-only asset never needs to be edited unless its
substantive content must change.  The session-start document can be
changed at the pleasure of the owner of the read-only asset, with no
danger to the main asset.  In fact, it can easily be made to bear a
license stamp unique to each licensee.

Dave is right when he says that there is ultimately no techno-fix for
policing the rights of information owners.  However, there are things
we can do to make commerce in information-use licenses easier.  True
independent linking can really help a lot, I think.

--Steve

             Steven R. Newcomb   President
         voice +1 716 271 0796   TechnoTeacher, Inc.
           fax +1 716 271 0129   (courier: 23-2 Clover Park,
      Internet: srn@techno.com    Rochester NY 14618)
           FTP: ftp.techno.com   P.O. Box 23795
    WWW: http://www.techno.com   Rochester, NY 14692-3795 USA
Received on Sunday, 29 December 1996 17:02:23 EST

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