Re: Augmented Metadata in XHTML

From: Murray Altheim (
Date: Wed Jun 27 2001 - 16:03:32 PDT

Frode Hegland wrote:
> >Yes, this is my assumption as well. We need to take baby steps at the
> >user level,
> that is in my mind key. Define the connecting protocols and develop a
> series of independent black boxes.

I think we're poised to begin doing just that. In conversations with
Jack Park, all the people and the parts are coming together, almost
on their own. I told Jack that I wanted my contribution to be bringing
together different communities wherever I saw parallel tracks, even
when there might be disagreements, and getting them to agree on core
common components. This is starting to sound less like the rantings
of a fanatic and perhaps even a bit reasonable.

> >We need to keep this grounded in what can be
> >accomplished, with our eyes not on the master's finger, but on the
> >moon he's pointing at.
> Like the way you put that.

I'm quoting someone but I'm not sure who, so I can't take credit. Steve
Newcomb asked me privately about this same quote several weeks ago, and
it occurred to me that I probably read it in my researches into early
Christianity in reference to people constantly looking at Jesus' finger
and not the place he was pointing to. This is a problem in most
philosophy and religion. The quote "if you meet Buddha on the path,
kill him!" follows along the same idea. I'm not sure in retrospect how
apropos it is here, but I'm all for witty sayings... :-)

> >No, I think you're on track. I just read over a paper by Lee Iverson
> >on the NODAL project..
> Can you give me that URL please?

This was a paper copy I got from Lee. Perhaps he's already posted it
to the web somewhere, or is willing to at some point. I can't speak
for him on this one, and he may be bound by some distribution rules
at SRI. (I think he might be out of town right now and not able to answer)

> >I'm considering creating a complement to a Topic Map syntax, called a
> >Sequence Map. This would be an XML serialization of a specific linear
> >view of a document. The document might be XHTML, might be an XTM topic
> >map, might be DocBook, etc. There could be different Sequence Maps for
> >any given document. This reminds me a bit of the multiple dimensions
> >of Hytime, but like Lee I am prone to want to keep things "radically
> >simple."

[I should mention that there could be both Topic Map and Sequence Map
views of a document (as a set of nodes). The most common would be
the latter, as that's what people are used to. And of course, there's
some interesting potential interaction between the two as well.]
> Simple yes I agree, but you are way beyond me already here!

Well, I've been thinking about these things intensively for about a
year or two now. This pales in comparison with Doug and many others.
I'm getting my ideas from them, really. On the backs of giants, etc.

> >JavaScript? I hope not. I expect a document compositor to be built from
> >more solid materials, such as a good metadata registry and database
> >repository (perhaps ebXML's, which Sun will release as an implementation
> >in July into open source), probably an XSLT engine to create the view
> >document, etc.
> Javascript is a problem, but useful in a limited manner. I don't find
> Full Java to be 100% either for interface issues.

Yes, but I'm not thinking we're going to be using this within a browser,
and standalone Java apps work pretty well in general. (And believe me,
I don't say this because I'm a Sun employee)

> >Does this mean that at some point if our visions turn out to have
> >mutually beneficial paths, we might get some commitment on resources?
> >That perhaps you'd donate a component? That would be great! We have
> >a meeting in Menlo Park tomorrow where I expect we'll discuss some of
> >these issues in more detail.
> We are not that large a company. We have our Web based email service and
> a secret project due out mid July, but we definitively want to be part of
> this. What could be more important & fun?

Great! I look forward to hearing more about this as it develops. News at 11.


Murray Altheim, SGML/XML Grease Monkey <mailto:altheim&#64;>
XML Technology Center
Sun Microsystems, 1601 Willow Rd., MS UMPK17-102, Menlo Park, CA 94025

     i am going to see if i cannot reform insects in general
     i have constituted myself a missionary extraordinary
     and minister plenipotentiary and entomological to bring
     idealism to the little struggling brothers -- archy (1927)

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