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

From: Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 16:12:30 -0400
Message-ID: <CANSiVPb5bvJ7nM41Mw9=cFy_-gMyyGvDtpH2gr4dMww3VnexVg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>
Cc: 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>
On Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 4:02 PM, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com143144
<lrosenth@adobe.com>> wrote:

>
> > 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.”
> >
> I quite disagree with you here, but as mentioned in the previous thread, I
> am concerned about the format itself.  And the format MUST allow for ANY
> collection of resources to be bound together in a “portable fashion” or
> it’s not a “Portable Document Format” (in the generic sense, of course).
>

We don't disagree, except that we're having sideways conversations. You're
discussing formats which could contain a portable web document. I am
discussing a definition of what is a "portable web document."

And I reassert: a portable web document definition has to have specific
constraints on the concept of "document." Not everything composed online is
a document.

If I was too information theory-heavy  in my earlier post, let me move to
the physical layer: If I spill ink on a piece of paper, it's not a
document. Ink and paper are both permissable formats for encoding
documents, but my use of permissable formats does not make it one. (We
shall leave the trickier question of infinite typing monkeys and the works
of Shakespeare for another philosophical discussion.)



>
>
>I would argue that something does not become a portable document because a
> spider crawled the site and generated a sitemap file.
> >
> In general, I agree.  UNLESS the purpose of the spider WAS to create a
> document from your site.  And in that way, I agree with you when you wrote
> “I assert that to make something a document, a human choice needs to have
> been made to create it”.  So we agree that as long as there is explicit
> intent to gather that collection, then it’s a document.
>
>
Yes, precisely as I said in my email: "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."  We agree completely on that point.

And as I said, I think we are not disagreeing; your points address
questions of formats, and mine address questions of documents.

Deborah


Leonard
>
> From: Deborah Kaplan
> Date: Friday, September 4, 2015 at 1:28 PM
> To: Leonard Rosenthol
> Cc: Ivan Herman, W3C Digital Publishing IG, Ralph Swick, Bill Kasdorf,
> Bill McCoy
> Subject: Re: [Glossary] Definition of a portable document (and other
> things...)
>
>
>
> On Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 11:25 AM, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com144
> 145 <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 20:12:58 UTC

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