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Re: [ontolog-forum] fitness of XML for ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Paul Tyson <phtyson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 23:32:57 -0600
Message-id: <1391837577.5887.95.camel@tristan>
On Thu, 2014-02-06 at 20:02 +0000, Barkmeyer, Edward J wrote:
> John,
> For once we agree, although I must say I think the analogy to Roman numerals 
>is dubious.
> One thing:
> Paul (Tyson) wrote:
>  > the overall benefits of representing enterprise knowledge in XML far
>  > outweigh the cost of the extra markup.
> That may be true of representing enterprise knowledge IN MESSAGES,
>  i.e., IN FLOW, but there is no evidence of its being true of
>  representing enterprise knowledge IN REPOSITORIES.  The relationship
>  between access methods and XML is at best crude, e.g., by comparison
>  with RDBs and some very powerful linking structures.  That is why John
>  talks about the Google repositories.  The value of enterprise
>  knowledge in repositories is very much dependent on its accessibility.    (01)

I'm not quite sure what all that means, but allow me to quote Charles
Goldfarb in re: what generalized markup *is* (ca. 1990):    (02)

[after introducing and discussing the story of the blind men and the
elephant...] "There has been a dismaying tendency to characterize SGML
solely in terms of the aspect with which one happens to make contact:    (03)

"-- It is a tagging language.
"-- It handles logical structures.
"-- It is a file linking and addressing mechanism.
"-- It is a data base language for text.
"-- It is a foundation for multimedia and hypertext.
"-- It is a syntax for text processing style sheets.
"-- It allows coded text to be reused in ways not anticipated by the
"-- It is a document representation language for any architecture.
"-- It is a notation for any kind of structure.
"-- It is a metalanguage for defining document types.
"-- It represents hierarchies.
"-- It is an extensible document description language.
"-- It is a standard for communication among different hardware
platforms and software applications.    (04)

"SGML is and does all of these things, but the whole is much more than
the sum of the parts. Moreover, it is only by understanding the whole
that one can make the best use of SGML."    (05)

(Charles Goldfarb, _The SGML Handbook_, Clarendon Press, 1990.
p.xii-xiii)    (06)

24 years later, XML has strengthened and extended some of those
capabilities, and diminished a few of them. But the choice is still
clear: either use a proven, robust standard for net overall
effectiveness, or design "the next great format" for (possible) local
efficiencies and (almost certain) degradation of communication, reuse,
and progress.    (07)

--Paul    (08)

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