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Re: A note about the definition of "structure"

From: Michele Diodati <michele.diodati@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 23:57:58 +0100
Message-ID: <2e1e87c05011714572903f121@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

John Slatin wrote:
> You're correct: I do intend the term "structure" to encompass 
> "content."  But this is not an arbitrary extension of the concept. It is 
> consistent with the definitions listed below, from Merria-Webster's 
> 10th Collegiate Dictionary (...)

I read all the definitions you reported. Sincerely it seems to me that
these definitions point out a meaning of the word "structure" very
similar to that I am trying to propose. In particular you refer to
definitions 4a 4b and 5 as examples of structure that "encompasses"
content. Doing to my imperfect knowledge of English, I probably used
the verb "to encompass" in a wrong way, but I meant that structure
surely refers to contents (it organizes them), but it is a _different
thing_ with respect to contents.

According to this idea, definition 4a says that structure is: "the
arrangement of particles or parts in a substance or body ". Structure
is "the arrangement", that is the particular organization of particles
or parts in a body, but it is not the various parts and particles.
Definition 4b seems to me even clearer: "organization of parts as
dominated by the general character of the whole". The accent is on

Even when a definition refers without doubt to a material thing, i.e.
to a content, it seems to me rather a figure of speech. For example,
when "structure" is used in the meaning of "something (as a building)
that is constructed", it seems to be a synecdoche, where the part (the
structure) stands for the whole (the building).

Ultimately, it isn't my intention to quibble over this definition. I
just made a proposal that you are free to accept or refuse.

> For me, the critical difficulty with this definition is that it seems too 
> narrowly focused on a single "resource" such as a "delivery unit," 
> when I think it will probably have to be capable of handling 
> collections of delivery units (e.g., entire sites as well as single 
> pages within those sites).

I agree with your opinion, but I wouldn't forget the necessity to
distinguish when structure refers to markup code in a web page from
when structure refers to objects in the real world.

Received on Monday, 17 January 2005 22:58:29 UTC

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