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Re: ZNG dicussion

From: Sebastian Hammer <quinn@indexdata.dk>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 13:21:38 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: www-zig@w3.org
At 11:59 27-09-2001 +0100, Mike Taylor wrote:

> > * Numeric values for attributes is ugly - there is no standardized human
> >   readable query language.
>Totally agree, that's a part of the reason that I am keen on the
>current initiative to design a human-readable query langauge (BUT not
>to compromise on expressiveness in doing so!)

This argument popped up when poor old GRS-1 got the axe in the Bath profile 
as well... and while I as a fluent English-speaker can sympathise, I also 
get a feeling that "human-readable" is a relative term. There's a lot of 
people (including software programmers) out there for whom English is a 
third language or less... I try to imagine if I would still enjoy working 
with Z39.50 if the Bib-1 attribute set had been cast in Spanish or German 
(both languages I have kind of a painful acquaintance with) instead of 
numbers. The jury is still out.

I think in a global world, there is a lot to be said for linguistic and 
cultural neutrality, at least when broad interoperability is the goal.

Personally, I find the readability of the query language to be of little 
consequence.. while SQL is human-readable, it's still not something you 
normally subject your users to, and since Z39.50 (any generation) is not 
about database management, we spend a lot less type pounding queries into 
low-level tools than your average RDBMS jockey. What you want is a language 
that's easy to parse and easy to render.. to me, that's a big plus with a 
"Polish" notation over something like CCL, even though prefix or suffix 
notation are definitely not end-user friendly.

Received on Thursday, 27 September 2001 07:22:25 UTC

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