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

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2015 14:43:34 +0200
Cc: Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org>, Deborah Kaplan <dkaplan@safaribooksonline.com>, Liam Quin <liam@w3.org>, Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>, Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>, Olaf Drümmer <olaf@druemmer.com>
Message-Id: <B6A7B564-2844-4B39-A6E5-EA670FE789AC@w3.org>
To: W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Hi everybody,

I again try to play the role providing summaries:-) The fact that I am on the other side of the pond compared to most of you means that I get a whole lot of emails in the morning, so I can do it...

As before, I will try to come up with my synthesis for the next round of discussions. I started with Deborah's proposal[1] which seems to summarize many points up to that point. Let me give my slightly different version, and give my comments below. I am a little bit bothered that this definition becomes way longer than what I summarized last time[2], but maybe this is just the nature of the beast...

Here it is:

* A **Web Resource** is a digital resource that can be uniquely addressed by a Unified Resource Identifier (URI), and whose content can be accessed through standard protocols like HTTP, FTP, etc.

* **Essential content** of a Web Resource: if removed, would fundamentally change the information or functionality of the content.

* **Functionality** related to a Web Resource: processes and outcomes achievable through user action.

* A **Web Document** is a Web Resource which itself is a collated set of interrelated Web Resources and which is intended to be seen as a single Web Resource
	* 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 when delivered via a variety of technologies or delivery platforms.
	* A Web Document *should* provide a gracefully degrading experience when delivered via a variety of technologies or delivery platforms.
	* A Web Document *should* provide accessible access to content.
	* A Web Document is *not* an object with a precise technical meaning, e.g., it is not equivalent to an HTML Document.

* A **Portable Web Document** is a Web Document which contains, within its constituent set, the information necessary to provide delivery of essential content and functionality, or a graceful degradation thereof, without the presence of any other Web Resources.

And here are my comments on a number of points, a bit in an unorderly manner:

* I agree with Leonard's comment on [1] that an explicit reference to WCAG is not appropriate in a definition. There may be resources that the WCAG does not address, it may be a moving target with different versions, and we try to keep away from specific technologies anyway.

* I also agree with Leonard that the 'graceful degradation' aspect at delivery of a portable resource is essential and we should not remove it from the definitions. In fact, it may be considered to be in [1] (looking at the term of essential content and functionality) but it does not harm to make it explicit.

* The reason why RDF1.1 (that Deborah referred to) has greatly reduced the complexity of its definition of a resource was, if I remember well, pure pragmatism. From an RDF point of view the fact that it has a unique identifier in terms of a URI is all that counts. Any attempt to give a more precise meaning may (ehem, does...) lead to an infinite amount of discussions. I think this pragmatism is a good idea here, too. Actually, I tried to restrict the terminology even further by referring to Web resources; in the RDF model, *anything* can be a resource (including natural persons like Ivan Herman), and we should not go there imho. On the other hand, having a definition for what we mean by a resource sounded like a good idea, so I added that.

* There is a major discussion coming up later: a URI is not necessarily a URL. It may be a of course a URL, but can also be a URN, which then includes DOI-s, ISBN-s, etc. This will require a much finer set of definitions (or find them in the literature) because, obviously, DOI-s or ISBN should be usable to identify a Web Document. The list of terms on the initial glossary [3] includes the document identifier as a term to be defined. I would propose *not* to get into this particular discussion for now; it is on the list of the terms to define, but let us take one step at a time... (B.t.w., the checksum idea, raised by Bill & Leonard, may come back at that point.)

* I was not sure about the choice among 'curate', 'collate', etc. I am sensitive to Bill's arguments, so I have taken 'collate'.

* Maybe the biggest departure of Deborah's definition: I must admit I was not convinced by the necessity of having a separate definition of a 'Portable Resource'. I did not see what it brings us...

* I added "delivery platforms"-s to the should-s, to make it clear that we also include, eg, different types of displays. I had the impression in the thread that we were too focussed on accessibility issues and we did not really consider other types of access problems. It may be unnecessary, though, I am sure someone will tell me:-)

* The original text had: "identified as a single document by the curator." I was not sure about this formulation, and we also dropped 'curation'. I went back to one of Olaf's mail who emphasized the 'intention' of combining the resources into one Web Document instead. I think the intention is fairly similar, it just sounded better:-)

* I hesitated between Deborah's proposal on "presence of any other digital content" and Olaf's "independent of any specific infrastructure". I stayed by the former because it seemed to be more generic...

* I tried to use only the term "web resource' everywhere and not use the term digital content. Just to be consistent...

Gonggg... Third round! :-)


[1] http://www.w3.org/mid/alpine.WNT.2.00.1509081456590.5472@DKaplan.safarijv.com
[2] http://www.w3.org/mid/E51A8C8A-FD5B-4BB3-B7EA-38B94AC4736F@w3.org
[3] https://www.w3.org/dpub/IG/wiki/Glossary

Ivan Herman, W3C
Digital Publishing Lead
Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
mobile: +31-641044153
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704

Received on Wednesday, 9 September 2015 12:43:48 UTC

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