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meaning of structure

From: nir dagan <dagan@upf.es>
Date: Thu Jun 4 08:55:54 1998
Message-Id: <199806041248.OAA20895@sahara.upf.es>
To: A.Flavell@physics.gla.ac.uk
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
I agree that "structure" is used in two different meanings.

Thus, I should have said "somewhat confusing" rather 
than "misused".

It seems that when one talks on HTML, it would be less confusing 
if the word structure is used only as "document structure" in the 
SGML sense. The other meaning---"information structure"---may be 
conveyed with other words to reduce confusion.  

It seems to me that "information structure" 
does not cover the wide usage of the term "structural elements".
 
Using the term "structural element" for document division (DIV)
makes much more sense to me than using it for elements like CITE 
and EM whose content has a special meaning but no special structure.

In other words sections and subsections form an information 
hierarchy. 

CITE in a P or I in a P do not create an information 
hierarchy. They create a structure only in the document tree.

Regards,
Nir Dagan.
http://www.econ.upf.es/%7Edagan/


Enclosed are Flavell's comments to my previous message:

> 
> On Thu, 4 Jun 1998, nir dagan wrote:
> 
> > I think the word structure is heavily misused in the literature; 
> 
> With respect, I think you are confusing two different issues.
> Both are "structures" in their respective ways: "misused" seems to
> me to be over-stating the case against one of them.
> 
> > There are two types of elements, those who convey _meaning of content_ 
> > and those who convey _presentational hints_ .
> 
> For "convey the meaning of content" one might reasonably say "mark-up
> the structure of the content", which is what is meant when one talks
> about structural v. presentational elements in HTML.
> 
> > Both CITE and I have the 
> > same structure (content model).
> 
> Well, that's the structure of the HTML syntax, not the structure of
> the information that's being marked-up.  Two very different things.
> 
> Then you go on to say:
> 
> > Although HR is in some sense "presentational" I think it may be used to 
> > convey "sharp separation".
> 
> I think this is a subtle detail, and there are other priorities than
> spending much time on it, but I'm inclined to LQ's view on this.  The
> DIV container seems a more appropriate way of denoting logical
> sections of a document at a level higher than the paragraph; the HR
> certainly may be used but, like the BR at a lower level, it only marks
> a point in the document, rather than clearly indicating a structure.
> 
> I'm not saying "don't use HR" - how could I, I use it myself.  But if
> you're intending to mark up a structure, then I'd suggest using a DIV
> for that.
> 
> best regards
> 
> 
Received on Thursday, 4 June 1998 08:55:54 GMT

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