Re: A Note on URC Querying

Leslie Daigle (leslie@bunyip.com)
Sun, 2 Jul 1995 15:40:51 -0400


From: Leslie Daigle <leslie@bunyip.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 1995 15:40:51 -0400
Message-Id: <199507021940.PAA05669@beethoven.bunyip.com>
To: msm@ansa.co.uk, ura-bunyip@bunyip.com, uri@bunyip.com
Subject: Re: A Note on URC Querying


Sorry for stepping into this thread a little late -- my mailbox turned into
a listserv war-zone lately, and careful excavation has  taken a while...

First things first:

My understanding of the thread is that the proposal is to build URC-searching
with URCs themselves, defining a semantics for handling URC templates as
queries.  

Architecturally, I can not say I thnk this is the way to go.  If we do URC's
right, they will represent characteristics of information resources, and,
yes, those representations are an integral part of effective and efficient
searching for resources.  However, if I have correctly understood it, 
the URC spec (or a closely-related one) will also incorporate standards
for how searches are handled.  I think this is premature because URCs
were constructed after studying the task of _representation_ (which is
presumably understood), not search and retrieval (which isn't -- we don't
know all tasks which people and/or programs will need to have supported by
searching through URCs), and the examples that were cited in the thread were 
for more than just search primitives.

[Mark Madsen wrote:]

> I'm carrying the quoted example below to maintain the context for the
> discussion.
> 
> > asks whether we could use processing instructions to convey
> > that info instead.  Here's the example:
> > 
> > > <!doctype urc SYSTEM "urn:x-dns:uri.ansa.co.uk:method-dtd-7">
> > > <urc>
> > > <author method="m1">Smith, F.</author>
> > > <subject method="m2">Cats</subject>
> > > <URL></URL>
> > > <results>
> > > (Initially empty, this container holds the results of the
> > > searches.)
> > > </results>
> > > <methods>
> > > <m1 lang="niceScript">
> > > (A script written in the niceScript(TM) language that

[snip]

> I would prefer to see all this defined in a way that didn't depend on
> a particular language.  (I am perfectly happy to see SGML used as the
> specification language for URC syntax.)

[snip]

I urge you to go back and check out the URA Internet-Draft.  The structure
of the example is not at all dissimilar to the kinds of things we've been
talking about for URAs.  We haven't suggested an implementation methodology
at this point, but the test URAs we've been playing with (in Silk) have
been written in tcl and have a similar structure.

By contrast, though, URAs:

	a) are not for searching only (although that's primarily what
	   we've done with them in Silk)

	b) take a step back to _describe_ the URA's data components (I
	   believe it was the "what" section in the paper), or the
	   attributes in  the example above.  This means that the URA
	   can encapsulate a search for subjects, which can be instantiate
	   to be a search for cats...


I'll stop here, because I'm on a beastly slow link and generating 
semantically parsable sentences is quite a challenge.  I'd be happy to
continue talking about these things if we think there is commonality between
what is being described here and what we've identified in URAs.

Cheers!
Leslie.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Life is a Usability Test"                             Leslie Daigle
                                                       leslie@bunyip.com
           -- ThinkingCat                              Montreal, Canada

------------------------------------------------------------------------------