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

Robert Barta sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Sat, 3 Apr 2004 19:54:37 +1000

On Thu, Apr 01, 2004 at 03:48:14PM +0200, Bernard Vatant wrote:
> > 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 no
> > 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.


I happily disagree. :-)

I think Dmitry's assessment of the situation that you can capture all
merging rules with 'additional statements' is quite correct.

At least my view is that merging is _always_ application specific, it
just depends how you identify two things. In this sense a 'merging
rule' is nothing else than an additional constraint on a map: "It
SHALL never be that two topics are in one map where .... <and here
comes some condition involving the two topics>".

If one accepts that a merging rule is nothing else than a constraint
then one may also consequently think that this is something which
should belong in a TMCL statement. This makes sense to me as a TMCL
document is supposed to constrain the form of a topic map.

And that can and....

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

....should be declarative, yes.


My impression - and here I speak with the hat of a computer scientist
on - is that the TM community tries to burden the "data model" with
all sorts of 'semantical' constraints. I do not think this is a clever
move and it will bite us later when we have to integrate TM?L.

Please note, that this is NOT like building a house, starting from
ground up and then making the roof.


PS: If someone wants to follow my thought experiments: