[sc34wg3] Strawman draft of ISO 13250-1

Mary Nishikawa sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 06 Nov 2003 08:52:18 +0900


I am giving all of my feedback for the meeting on this mail list, since I 
will not be in Philadelphia (sigh).

>* Steve Pepper
>|Please read the Editors' Note at the beginning of the document *very
>| carefully* before looking at the rest of the document!
>| It explains why we regard this draft as a strawman and what issues
>| we would like National Bodies to consider before the Philadelphia
>| meeting.

>*Lars Marius Garshol
>I'd like to repeat this, since it seems that nobody's understood what
>Steve meant. What is being sought is *not* comments on the substance
>of the document, because that is intended to be pure duplication of
>what's in TMDM anyway.
>What *is* being sought is comments on this particular editorial
>solution. That is, what do we want part 1 to do, and what do we want
>part 2 to do? Should we define "subject" in part 1 or in part 2, or
>(heaven forbid) both? Should part 1 just be a guide to 13250? Should
>it also include a topic map tutorial? Should that tutorial be

So here is Steve's note and my comments on it.

*Steve Pepper
This draft of ISO 13250-1 has been produced as a strawman in order 
facilitate a decision by the Working Group on what form this Part should 
take. The original proposal for a Part 1 was motivated by the perceived 
need for an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Topic Maps that 
could be read in isolation from the definition of the Data Model (which is 
the subject of Part 2).

 >> We are working on the *restatement* of ISO 13250. I remember discussing 
(possibly in Balimore) that we should begin with ISO 13250, update that, 
and make it part 1 plus including an introduction to the parts -- DM, XTM 
syntax,  CTM and RM and how they work together. This is what I expected the 
draft to look like.

 >> However, we really do need the normative definitions in the data model.
 >> At a minimum  for part 1, I think we would need  an informative 
description of what Topic Maps are and something like N323 "Guide to Topic 
Map standards."

  >> I guess if the parts can be published separately, it would seem  that 
we would need the definitions in both places (yuck) but, don't we want in 
the end to have a coherent  and complete document with parts and without 
unnecessary repetition?
 >> I have already expressed this some months ago, but I would like all of 
the normative content to  be in the data model.

*Steve Pepper
While there cannot be any doubt that the Data Model needs to be at the 
heart of the standard, it should also be recognized that most of the 
readers of 13250 will not be implementors. Those people need a clear 
presentation of the concepts that is not intermixed with data modelling 
concepts like item types and properties.

 >> I also mentioned this before too, but there is a need for something 
like Tim Bray's notes on the W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation. OK, I read Tim's 
notes first and then I was able to take a crack at the standard. So, how 
many people did read that one, and, was it necessary?  Probably not. There 
were others around like Tim Bray to explain it later.

 >> Tim's notes were not part of the standard though. I think that this is 
important to discuss, since we need to examine what we are producing as 
standards, and we need to do a kind of comparative *benchmarking* so to speak.

*Steve Pepper
The problem that has to be solved is how to reconcile these two needs 
without introducing redundancy. This draft is an attempt on the part of the 
editors of Part 1 to show what the solution might look like. It was 
deliberately written without reference to the current draft of Part 2, in 
order to be able to assess the validity of the approach originally 
envisaged. (It was also left incomplete in order not to spend unnecessary 
There is now a large amount of overlap between Parts 1 and 2, but this was 
to be expected. The questions we wished to raise, and hope to have answered 
at the Philadelphia meeting of WG3, are the following:Is there, in fact, a 
need for a formal, normative presentation of the fundamental concepts of 
Topic Maps, presented in isolation from the definition of the data model?

*Mary -- No there is no need.

Is it possible, by carefully moving some pieces of text that describe 
fundamental concepts from Part 2 to Part 1 (e.g. 5.5.1 and 5.5.2), to avoid 
unnecessary redundancy?

No, I don't go for this, because it would weaken the content of the DM and 
the normative defintions are necessary there.
An implementor should not need to read through part 1 to get the 
definitions in order to understand what the terminology means in part 2.

Is there a need for an annex containing an informal tutorial, along the 
lines of that in the XTM specification?

Yes, there is a need, but whether it should be in the standard is debatable.

A decision not to include a separate presentation of the fundamental 
concepts will call the need for a separate Part 1 into question.

Part 1 could then be a description of all of the other parts -- a map of 
where to go for the normative information. This part 1 could include the 
informative annex -- a tutorial if it is seen as necessary.

The minutes of the Montreal meeting of WG3 recommended the editors to 
follow the model of ISO 8879, which includes a tutorial in Annex A. We wish 
to point out that this model is only partly relevant, since the annex in 
question actually contains a reprint of a rather old paper describing the 
general principles of generic markup, rather than a tutorial based on the 
standard. For the purpose of this strawman, we have simply copied the 
Gentle Introduction from the XTM Specification. If a decision is taken to 
include such a tutorial, we envisage a rewrite that contains more syntax 
examples and is more in line with the concepts as currently defined and 
understood by WG3.

Yes, we really do need this, but as I said, do we need it in the standard? 
If we do have it, then it can only be an informative annex. I think that 
eveyone agrees with this.
It could be an annex of part 1, or I could even see it as an annex to part 
3 Syntax specification. Then Part 1 would only be the guide to the standard.

N.B. Since the current document is just a strawman, no attempt has been 
made to ensure that it follows the latest ISO rules in terms of document 

Sure, no problem :)


P.S. I will comment later on the DM  and the RM requirements.