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Re: The self-describing web...

From: Elliotte Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 15:52:18 -0500
Message-ID: <43BAE402.5070908@metalab.unc.edu>
To: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>
CC: www-tag@w3.org

Norman Walsh wrote:

> In order to preserve the self-describing nature of the web, it has
> been proposed that we define an "XML-functions" approach to
> determining what information content can be understood from an XML
> document that is grounded in the web. We can not, and should not try,
> to assert that all XML documents are grounded in the web, we need only
> provide a framework for allowing authors to, in the common and usual
> case, publish XML documents that *are* grounded in the web.

I could quibble with a lot of details, but I have two main concerns with 

1. It's not at all clear to me where you're going with this, or what you 
hope to achieve.

2. I'm not sure I believe it's productive to attempt to standardize, 
define, or otherwise mandate any particular interpretation of 
information content in XML. (In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't believe 
that.) I tend to think we should not define any approach to determining 
what information content can be understood from an XML document, whether 
grounded in the Web or not, whether XML-functions or not. Different 
consumers of the same XML documents are likely to have different 
understandings of those documents based on their own needs and 
experiences, and that's OK. In fact, it's more than OK. It's reality, 
whatever the specs say.

Bottom line: the reader of a document is ultimately responsible for 
understanding the document. Different readers will understand different 
things. The document author cannot force the reader to understand any 
particular thing. Author's intent does not outweigh the reader's 

´╗┐Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo@metalab.unc.edu
XML in a Nutshell 3rd Edition Just Published!
Received on Tuesday, 3 January 2006 20:52:28 UTC

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