[sc34wg3] The Norwegian National Body position on ISO 13250

Michel Biezunski sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Mon, 14 Apr 2003 08:54:52 -0400


> >PMTM4 has been translated in Japanese by Naitto-san, and
> >it was not at that time a CD.
> I would guess that this was a big favor to you and it was not
> part of standard
> procedures. I guess you own him more than a beer for this  :)

"A big favor to me"? Come on, Mary, don't fool
yourself with this idea that the world is black
and white, that there are "favors" rendered.

Of course I am glad every time a text on topic maps
is translated in a new language. Especially when it is
intended to make the community around progress on
their awareness of what is discussed. I applaude
for efforts to let people know what is going on.
It's even more remarkable when the text translated
is an intermediary step, because it really helps
people understand the discussion while it's taking
place. It means that instead of relying on others
that don't speak your own language and wait until
you finish all the discussion, you are offered
an opportunity to get informed -- and why not
be encouraged to participate -- in an ongoing
process. I find this remarkable.

Thank you again Naitto-san for having made
a draft text available to people who speak

As I said Mary nothing prevents you to make
a translation of any of the text that you want
which are publicly available anyway. I think
that if your interest is to get people around
you in Japan interested by the process, then
you can do it right away. There is enough
valuable material out there to have a choice
of documents to translate from.

For your information, I have translated
the SGML, DSSSL, HyTime and other related standards
into French. I didn't do it as a personal favor
for any member of the committee. I did it to help
the French speakers to get their grasp on these

> > > Michel you said, "I think when you qualify the SAM as a "very
> > > robust piece
> > > of computer science" you are exactly right."
> > >
> > > So, it is important to have SAM translated.
> >
> >Why don't you go forward and translate it right
> >now? This is independent of the fact it is a CD.
> Yeah, tomorrow Michel, I'll get right to it. :)

Good. I am looking forward to announce its availability.
I hope you are not going to consider it
another personal favor to me?

> The translation that I am talking about is  "official" translation of an
> ISO  publication.
> This is what we need for SAM.

Yes, but it's not because you want to make SAM
official that it changes the fact that we still
have to clarify how the SAM fits with the rest
of the puzzle.

> There is a committee for this. The process begins when the
> document goes to CD.
> We needs lots of planning and time to do a good job.

So wait then until it becomes a CD. What do you
feel is the most urgent? Having Japanese know about
work in progress in TMs (then translate immediately)
or only translate the official texts (which I think
is required in any case if you want to make it
a national standard in addition to an international

> >If you consider that the document as it is can
> >be helpful, I think it would be an excellent
> >initiative to translate it right now.
> Sure, of course :)

So, can't you then disconnect the discussion
on the status of the text with your requirement
of translation?

> I am talking about the formal publication. This is important for
> Japan, and
> I am not only talking about the translation of the CD.
> This is the setting up of the translation program so that we are ready to
> publish the Japanese document as close as possible
> to the time of the final publication.

Good objective.

> I think that we are really coming from two different worlds.  As an
> individual, I came to study topic maps, but as a Japan delegate, I have
> other obligations now, even though it is a kind of *volunteer* work. The
> Japanese government must contribute to ISO in proportion to their GNP.
> Schlumberger allows me to attend meeting during my work time. So my time
> is, so to speak,is a contribution by my company to these ISO
> efforts. That
> goes for the other delegates too.

I don't understand why you say that. What do you know about
professional commitments for others? What's acceptable and not
acceptable in your vision? We all need to get the standard
process advanced and we all need to make it fit in our
requirements and the companies in and for which we work
in this area. Opposing two worlds like you do don't seem
to describe what's happening. You seem to be considering
that on one side there are serious, responsible people,
on the other a bunch of crazy academics that have nothing
else to do than wasting the time of serious people?
That's how I interpret what you just said. If that's the
case, I think it's not only unfair, it's just plainly
wrong. If that's not the case, then forgive me for
my interpretation but that's what I understand in
what you write.

> Which requirements? Has something been documented somewhere that I don't
> know about? There have been various personal requirements that have been
> voiced, even here on this mail list, but not submitted to due process. If
> you have requirements, please submit them formally, otherwise
> they are only
> viewed as personal remarks.

I'll do, if I need to. as I have ever did in the past.
No problem.

> >  It doesn't prevent us to continue
> >trying to find the best possible way to combine
> >the various efforts together so that topic maps
> >work harmoniously at different levels, as expected.
> Beginning to wonder if you are talking about models or people here :)

I think we need the models to work together harmoniously.
I wish we could make people work harmoniously together.
The first is achievable, and this is all what the
standard is about. The second would be nice to have,
but it might turn out to be wishful thinking.

> >But I am not sure that this is achievable
> >by those, like Steve Pepper, who simply
> >refuse the discussion. I think it would be
> >simpler if those in the group who refuse
> >to discuss simply refrain themselves to
> >attend the meetings that are precisely
> >made for these discussions to occur.
> Michel, for the editor of a standard to say such a thing
> about the convenor of the committee, was uncalled for
> and quite unfortunate. I really don't want to continue
> the discussion after this.

The convenor of the standard has stopped a
discussion I was raising by qualifying it
as "Ah the vendor argument again", and
used it to stop discussing rather than
to get to the bottom of the discussion,
which is how do we want the standard to
work with all its different pieces.

My understanding of the role of a convenor
is that he has to facilitate the discussion.
If a convenor declares that he is not
interested to discuss, I don't see what
good it is to have him or her as a convenor.
I am not interested to please anybody
in particular. I am interested to have
the standard go forward. I am trying to
remove the obstacles to progress. I think
refusing to discuss strategic issues
for the standard is particularly a

I believe that the search of consensus
can only be done through discussion.
Please study how ISO standards
work and you will see that building
a consensus is a key part of the process.

Until now, I don't know of any other way
to build consensus than to discuss on the
issues especially the ones
on which there is disagreement.

The attitude to refuse a discussion in
advance make it wonder what is the purpose
of meetings at all. I don't see why we
are going to have 4 days of meetings devoted
to how the standards work and do it with
people who declare they don't want to
discuss. I believe we would be better
off having meetings only with people
who declare they are coming because
they are eager to exchange with others
and discuss the open issues. Being
open-minded helps, it's not a requirement.

For your information, it has happened
several times that by listening to
what others have to say, in face-to-face
meetings, some people realize they
didn't completely get it before and
change their minds. And that works
in all directions.

Even if you have an agenda you want
to fullfill, please be open to what's
going on in the other working groups.

Keeping the communication between
the various working groups is crucial
to the future of the standard, its
acceptability, and its implementability.

Michel Biezunski
Coolheads Consulting
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Brooklyn, New York 11209
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