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Re: html for scholarly communication: RASH, Scholarly HTML or Dokieli?

From: Silvio Peroni <silvio.peroni@unibo.it>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2017 23:35:55 +0200
Message-ID: <BE48EA56-73AA-4E13-89F1-8C39467CFCE0@unibo.it>
CC: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286@cam.ac.uk>, W3C Scholarly HTML CG <public-scholarlyhtml@w3.org>
To: Johannes Wilm <mail@johanneswilm.org>
Hi Johannes,

Just a clarification:

> I guess RASH is more tied to specific tools, and from the looks of it, the format is not governed by any formal decision making process, so it's basically up to the development team behind it? I mean I understand,. Our Fidus Writer format is also just what we decide to put into it. But I wouldn't expect anyone else to adopt it either.

Well, the first version of RASH has been released as a work of my colleagues and I. However, we have been always open to suggestions and push requests via the Github repo, in particular when compliant with the intended guidelines of the language – be pattern-based according to a specific theory, adopt a minimum number of elements that enable the full description of a scholarly paper, use one element for conveying a specific structural semantics (e.g. you cannot choose between “em” and “i”, you have to use “em”), avoid verbosity when possible (see how in-text reference pointers to bibliographic references are handled), etc. 

In fact RASH has been modified and extended in the past thanks to several contributions and suggestions by the community – e.g. single researchers, as well as W3C working groups, such as DPUB-ARIA. The format has not been changed anymore since one year so far – we think it is pretty stable, indeed –, and we are focussing on the development of tools to extend the Framework right now – as side projects and/or student thesis. Of course RASH is not a formal standard, since it is not released by any standard organisation or institute. However it is a formal (i.e. there is a RelaxNG grammar defining it) subset of HTML5.

> If my suspicion is correct, it sounds like the main difference is that in RASH, several different ways of doing the same are allowed, whereas in Scholarly HTML, just one way is allowed.

If you consider RASH as a format, then honestly it is quite strict, since it allows to markup scholarly documents in a precise way, as defined in its documentation (https://rawgit.com/essepuntato/rash/master/documentation/index.html <https://rawgit.com/essepuntato/rash/master/documentation/index.html>) – while leaving the freedom of specifying RDF statements using any vocabulary.

If you consider the RASH Framework (i.e. the set of tools available to work with the RASH format) then yes, you can use different WYSIWYG ways (OpenOffice, Word, and RAJE – the latter still in alpha testing) for obtaining RASH documents, plus of course the possibility of writing a RASH document by using a common text editor.

> If the tools exist for RASH but not for Scholarly HTML, could we then not simply choose one of the various ways to express things in RASH and use that sub format for interchange? Something like "Strict RASH”. And would it not be possible to continue the development of that under some kind of community (if that is not the case yet), so that others can have a stake in it as well?

As mentioned before, I think RASH is enough strict as HTML5 markup – you have not three different ways to express article structure, you have only *one* way to do that, so as to remove ambiguities. And, for what RASH is concerned, I would love to organise or be involved in a formal community so as to discuss how to extend it and its Framework, according to the needs of various actors. Thus, I’m happy to talk about this, if there is interest. Even, and in particular, in the Scholarly HTML Community Group, if people think is the appropriate space for such discussion.

Have a nice day :-)


Silvio Peroni, Ph.D.
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of Bologna, Bologna (Italy)
Tel: +39 051 2095393
E-mail: silvio.peroni@unibo.it
Web: https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/silvio.peroni/en
Twitter: essepuntato
Received on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 21:36:30 UTC

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