[sc34wg3] Individual contribution on the U.S. N.B. position o nthe progress ion of Topic Map standards

Mason, James David (MXM) sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 1 Apr 2004 13:38:09 -0500

 Bernard, I think we are in agreement, and I thank you for helping me
clarify my thinking.

I'm not a great theoretician, but my understanding of merging is that it
shoud be based somehow on subject identity. Now subject identity is a sort
of fuzzy thing in the current 13250 (I believe Patrick will soon have more
to say about this). We've had (controversial) approaches to merging based on
names. We've talked a lot about PSIs as a basis for identity. But the
closest I've seen in something intended to become part of a standard for
defining how to establish identity is the discussion of  SIDPs in the RM
(that's a pretty bad sentence!). We've all fallen down on the job here, from
the original text of 13250 to the present because we've just assumed we knew
what identity was. If I remember my past life in algebras, establishing (or
postulating) a basis for identity is one of the first things that needs to
be done. I think that's one of the more valuable things the RM can
accomplish, so we're not all depending on implicit assumptions.

What I want from the RM is not merging rules but a statement of the basis on
which merging rules must work. And I think that's what you're saying in the
statement that merging rules should not be in the RM. And if we agree on
that, then the supposed Use Cases for the RM are really not something that
the RM must solve completely: all that's necessary from the RM is to show
that it provides an adequate basis for establishing identity to support
those UCs. Then some QL can, outside the RM, take that identity basis and
formulate procedures for executing the merges. But how that gets done is
irrelevant to the RM.

So the RM is no threat to TMQL, but, without the RM, all the other things
we're working on, like TMQL and TMDM,  are all based on inadequately
documented assumptions. In short, by jumping in on these other parts of the
TM family, we've not just put the cart before the horse, we've shoved the
cart out on the road before we've found the horse. (I don't mean that the
work on those projects is wasted: for example, testing various approaches to
QL design is profitable, even if the basis for identity has not yet been
completely documented yet.)


-----Original Message-----
From: sc34wg3-admin@isotopicmaps.org
To: sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Sent: 4/1/2004 8:48 AM
Subject: RE: [sc34wg3] Individual contribution on the U.S. N.B. position
onthe progress ion of Topic Map standards


> I believe that the four parts of ISO 13250 in progress at the moment
> address all four of your points, but as you noted, there is currently
> way for an application to specify merging rules declaratively.

I'm not sure to understand what you mean by "specify merging rules
declaratively", but it
sounds to me a sort of paradox. From the recent thread about merging
rules, what I
understood was that the debate was about having or not merging rules *at
all* in the core
standard, since they are procedural specifications.

And seems to me that Jim's point is to ask for a RM which would contain
only declarative
semantics, and not procedural specification.

Jim, correct me if I am wrong, do you mean that in your opinion there
should not be
anything like merging rules defined in the RM ? (if this is the case, I
fully agree with


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