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

From: Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2015 16:14:52 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
To: Liam Quin <liam@w3.org>
cc: W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <alpine.WNT.2.00.1509081456590.5472@DKaplan.safarijv.com>
Short version:

0. I agree with Liam's concerns about the definition of "portable"
1. I am happy with the definition of web document and the inclusion of "curated"
2. But it is not going to need caveats/footnotes/further explanation in a full glossary
3. At a minimum, for the purposes of digital publishing, we need to make it clear that we are not using document to mean the same thing as the technical term that the component of "Document Object Model" -- or any of the other technical definitions used in W3 projects! http://www.w3.org/2003/glossary/alpha/D/80

Based on the above, and using the changes between the RDF 1999 glossary versus RDF 2013 glossary (which I go into more detail about below), I propose:

A **Web Document** is a uniquely identifiable and curated set of interrelated Web resources which is identified as a single document by the curator. 
- A Web Document *should* be constructed of resources whose formats enable (individually or in conjunction with other resources in the same Web Document) delivery of essential content and functionality.
- A Web Document *should* provide a gracefully degrading experience when delivered via a variety of technologies.
- A Web Document *should* provide accessible access to content and follow WCAG. ("Must," if I ran the world, but alas.)
- A Web Document is *not* an object with a precise technical meaning, e.g. it is not equivalent to an HTML Document.

A **Portable Resource** is a set of digital resources which, taken in conjunction as a package, contain all of the information necessary to provide delivery of essential content and functionality without the presence of any other digital content.

A **Portable Web Document** is a Web Document which contains within it all of the information necessary to provide delivery of essential content and functionality without the presence of any other digital content.

Definition of essential, stolen straight from WCAG 2.0:  "Essential: if removed, would fundamentally change the information or functionality of the content."

Definition of functionality, stolen straight from WCAG 2.0:  "Functionality: processes and outcomes achievable through user action"

Long version below has my justifications for this definition:

Liam's questions bring me back to the essential limitations we need to acknowledge when we are creating a legalistic glossary for a philosophical, abstract concept.

I believe, Liam, that your question is with the fine tuning of "portable", but your examples also point out the problem with "document."

The 1st part of Ivan's phrasing:

A **Web Document** is a uniquely identifiable and curated set of interrelated Web resources. A Web Document should be constructed of resources whose formats enable (individually or in conjunction with other resources in the same Web Document) a graceful adaptation to the users' needs.

Liam asks:

> How is that definition different from every other Web document?
> How do we test whether a document meets the definition?
>
> Examples that meet the definition:

[Snip]

> * a Web page for an interactive scheduling system that degrades to an image 
> of this month's calendar when used offline is portable

[Snip]

You could argue that the webpage for an interactive scheduling system counts as curated. And under certain circumstances, that webpage might be something its curator constitutes as "a document." Certainly calendars are sometimes documents, and certainly documents are sometimes interactive. But a interactive calendar scheduling system is not necessarily going to be a document, and to a certain extent that has nothing to do with the technology, content, or presentation -- it has more to do with intent.

I think the term "curated" that Ivan has added to the definition is enough, and I'm not proposing that we actually change the definition around this. But I know that a lot of W3 documents have glossaries which define terms which end up having a very specific legal or technical meaning, and I think it's going to be important for our glossary to identify that this is a case where you can't 100% pin down the definition of what a document is.

I looked in the W3C Glossary and Dictionary to see if I could find anything else equally vague, and most of the equivalent terms are from very old documents which have in preempted: WCAG 1.0 has a similarly difficult-to-define usage for "equivalent", the ancient Web services glossary Had a vague definition for "attribute," the ancient RDF spec tries to describe "resource" kind of beautifully:


     "An abstract object that represents either a physical object such as a person or a book or a conceptual object such as a color or the class of things that have colors. Web pages are usually considered to be physical objects, but the distinction between physical and conceptual or abstract objects is not important to RDF. A resource can also be a component of a larger object; for example, a resource can represent a specific person's left hand or a specific paragraph out of a document. As used in this specification, the term resource refers to the whole of an object if the URI does not contain a fragment (anchor) id or to the specific subunit named by the fragment or anchor id."


http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-rdf-syntax-19990222/#glossary

by contrast, the 2013 RDF glossary simply says:

     "In an RDF context, a resource can be anything that an RDF graph describes. A resource can be addressed by a Unified Resource Identifier (URI). See also Resource Description Framework (RDF) 1.1 Concepts and Abstract Syntax [RDF11-CONCEPTS] "

http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/NOTE-ld-glossary-20130627/#resource

The details about the difference between abstract concept versus physical items are now in the mentioned Concept and Abstract Syntax guide: http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf11-concepts/#resources-and-statements


-Deborah
Received on Tuesday, 8 September 2015 20:15:22 UTC

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