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Re: Preferable alternative to 'resource'

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 12:55:59 -0400
To: Ian Davis <iand@internetalchemy.org>
Cc: Chimezie Ogbuji <chimezie@gmail.com>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070928165559.GB1350@mercury.ccil.org>

Ian Davis scripsit:

> Although [the use of 'document'] would be confusing for resources that
> are images, executable binaries, mp3s, embedded flash video etc

Not really.  Back to the OED, this time for "document":

        4. Something written, inscribed, etc., which furnishes evidence
        or information upon any subject, as a manuscript, title-deed,
        tomb-stone, coin, picture, etc.

This entry has been untouched since 1928, and not really changed since
original publication in the 1880s, so it's not surprising that it makes
no mention of more dynamic forms of document.  Pictures at least are
explicitly mentioned.  In addition, we do speak of pictures, audio,
and video as "documenting" events, so it's not too big an extension to
think of them as documents.

Latin "documentum", from which "document" is borrowed, meant primarily
"lesson/example", "proof/evidence", or "instance/specimen"; only in
the Middle Ages did it come to refer mostly to official papers such as
deeds and charters.

(Note on OED definitions: they are ordered strictly by first appearance,
so it's quite common for many of the lower numbers to be obsolete, as in
this case, where definitions 1-3 are respectively "teaching", "lesson",
and "proof", all directly from "documentum" as explained above.  So it's
no big deal that the topic-maps sense of "subject" is definition 13a.)

The man that wanders far                        cowan@ccil.org
from the walking tree                           http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
        --first line of a non-existent poem by:         John Cowan
Received on Friday, 28 September 2007 16:56:17 UTC

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