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[Glossary] Definition of a portable document (and other things...)

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 20:32:40 +0200
To: W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <210F6BE1-E450-4D68-A6D2-87FEFBEBBF61@w3.org>
(I don't know why this mail didn't go through directly ...)

> From: Jean Kaplansky <jkaplansky@safaribooksonline.com>
> Date: 4 September 2015 20:02:32 CEST
> To: Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com>
> Cc: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>,  W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>, Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>,  Bill Kasdorf <bkasdorf@apexcovantage.com>, Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org>
> Subject: Re: [Glossary] Definition of a portable document (and other things...)
> 
> I think the missing word here is some form of "curation." Humans curate. Machines do not curate without human instruction (or markup determined by a human).
> 
> Other than this one exception, +1 to Deborah's comments. They're spot on.
> 
> -Jean (Ivan!!! Please post for me? Thanks!)
> 
> Jean Kaplansky
> Content Manager
> Safari
> 
> email: jkaplansky@safaribooksonline.com
> twitter: @jeankaplansky
> 
>> On Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 1:28 PM, Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>>> On Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 11:25 AM, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com> wrote:
>>> Your personal website COULD be a document and in fact you might want to “package it up” and archive it away as such.
>> 
>> Sure, it could be. But it isn't. The definition of a portable document must not to be so general that  it includes every collection of resources that could theoretically exist in the format we define as "portable."
>> 
>> That's why I used the term "editorial constructed." Ivan took exception to the word "editor," although in this case I am distinguishing between the concept of "editor" and the concept of "editorial." In fact, you make the distinction for me yourself, right here, Leonard:
>> 
>>> “unrelated” is only a current state in the mind of a single person.  The simple act of making a collection of them has now made them related.  And that act of collecting them together (by human or machine) is the “editorial construct”.
>> 
>> The simple act of making a collection of them has made them " editorially constructed." However, when you say that active collecting them together -- by human or machine -- is the editorial construct. I would argue that something does not become a portable document because a spider crawled the site and generated a sitemap file. That can be *one* method by which portable documents are created (e.g., I can make the decision that I would like to create a document which is my entire site, so I build a spider to generate a collection). However, the mere act of having a machine generated collection doesn't make something a document.
>> 
>> For what it's worth, I think this is an inherent danger in creating explicit definitions, although of course I see the value in doing so as well. 
>> 
>> The others here who have a library, archives, or information science background might recognize what I'm saying here, but I assert that to make something a document, a human choice needs to have been made to create it (even if the human choice was "I am going to run a web crawler and everything that it grabs will be a document"). Refencing Briet and those who followed: "There is intentionality: It is intended that the object be treated as evidence" and "the quality of having been placed in an organized, meaningful relationship with other evidence--that gives an object its documentary status." cf http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~buckland/digdoc.html
>> 
>> To quote Buckland's conclusion in the link above: "Attempts to define digital documents are likely to remain elusive, if more than an ad hoc, pragmatic definition is wanted.."
>> 
>> I know we are not going to pin down something which has eluded entire fields of information science. However, if we must define "document", it's vital to make it clear that a document is not a random collection of electronic files that happen to be something accessed together. They are constructed with intention, or compiled with intention.
>> 
>> For what it's worth, compiled with intention can be a readerly choice, as well. Think about Pintrest as a (not at all portable) example. A collection of images of sofa cushions, curtains, and paint swatches from a variety of different company's websites and personal blogs does not itself construe a document. However, if a Pintrest user then puts together a board compiling all of those images, that  is a constructed document. The only implied consumer of that document might also be the compiler of it, but that doesn't make it any less a document. Nonetheless,  intellectual choices were a necessary part of that compilation.
>> 
>> Deborah
> 

Received on Friday, 4 September 2015 18:32:50 UTC

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